Lanthanides removal from mine water using banana peels nanosorbent

  • O. A. OyewoEmail author
  • M. S. Onyango
  • C. Wolkersdorfer
Original Paper


This study focuses on the performance of nanostructured banana peels in lanthanide-laden mine water treatment. Specifically, nanostructure formation via mechanical milling, characterization in detail and application of this sorbent media in rare earth elements (REEs) removal from synthetic and real mine water are thoroughly investigated. The sorbent samples were characterized by transmission electron microscopy, Brunauer–Emmett–Teller, X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared analyses, while the amount of REEs adsorbed was analysed using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy. Results revealed that the particle and crystallite sizes were reduced from <65,000 to <25 nm and 108 to 12 nm, respectively, as the milling progressed. Furthermore, the fracture of particles resulted in a surface area increment from 1.07 to 4.55 m2 g−1. Through Fourier transform infrared analysis, the functional groups responsible for the coordination and removal of metal ions were found to be carboxylic group (at absorption bands of 1730 cm−1) and amine groups (889 cm−1). The Langmuir maximum adsorption capacity was 47.8 mg g−1 for lanthanum and 52.6 mg g−1 for gadolinium. Meanwhile, results revealed that banana peels have a high affinity for Sm, Eu, Nd, Pr, Gd, Tb and Lu compared to other lanthanides present in the mine water samples. The results obtained so far indicate that nanostructured banana peel is a potential adsorbent for REEs removal from mine water. However, for any application, the water matrix to be treated substantially influences the choice of the sorbent material.


Agricultural waste Batch adsorption Mechanical milling Rare earth elements  Mine water 



One of the authors, Opeyemi A. Oyewo, thanks the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa for offering postgraduate scholarship. Dr Mondiu O. Durowoju and Dr Saliou Diouf are appreciated for their assistance in material characterization, Mr. Cleophas M. Achisa and Olga Oleksiienko for our fruitful discussion. The authors would like to thank all who supported this work.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. A. Oyewo
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. S. Onyango
    • 1
  • C. Wolkersdorfer
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Chemical, Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringTshwane University of TechnologyPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.SARChI Chair for Mine Water Management, Department of Environmental, Water and Earth SciencesTshwane University of TechnologyPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Laboratory of Green ChemistryLappeenranta University of TechnologyMikkeliFinland

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