A comparative study for removal of cadmium(II) ions using unmodified and NTA-modified Dendrocalamus strictus charcoal powder

  • Saraswati Saini
  • Jatinder Kaur Katnoria
  • Inderpreet KaurEmail author
Research Article


Release of cadmium, a non-essential and highly toxic heavy metal, into aquatic ecosystem through discharge of effluents from various industries such as electroplating, photographic, steel/iron production and tanneries, is of considerable environmental conern at global level. Hence, it is essential to develop economic methods to remove cadmium from industrial effluents before their discharge into water bodies. The aim of present study was to explore the efficiency of Nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) for the surface modification of Dendrocalamus strictus charcoal powder (DCP) and application of both unmodified DCP and NTA modified DCP (NTA-MDCP) as adsorbents to remove cadmium (II) ions from aqueous solution. Isotherms, thermodynamic and kinetic studies were carried out to describe the adsorption behavior of both adsorbents for the removal of Cd(II) ions. Maximum adsorption capacity calculated from Langmuir isotherm was found to be higher for NTA-MDCP (166.66 mg/g) as compared to DCP (142.85 mg/g) which may be attributed to the complex formation (1:1 & 2:1) between NTA on the surface of adsorbent and Cd(II) ions in the solution at optimum conditions: pH = 6, temperature = 25 °C, adsorbent dose = 2 g/l and contact time = 2 h. Thermodynamic studies confirmed endothermic as well as spontaneous nature of adsorption process and kinetic investigation revealed that the adsorption process followed pseudo second-order for both DCP and NTA-MDCP. Physical characterization of both adsorbents before and after adsorption was studied using Scanning Electron Microscope, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface analyzer, Energy Dispersion X-ray Spectrometer, CHNS analyzer and X-Ray diffractometer which confirmed the adsorption of cadmium(II) ions. Further, the desorption studies for regeneration of adsorbents were successfully carried out using two eluents viz., 1 M sulfuric acid and 0.5% calcium chloride. The present study revealed that NTA-MDCP could be used as an effective adsorbent for the removal of cadmium(II) ions from aqueous solution.


Adsorption Cadmium Desorption Dendrocalamus strictus Nitrilotriacetic acid 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the University Grants Commission for providing the financial support and University with Potential for Excellence (UPE) program. The first author is recipient of UGC-BSR fellowship under RFSMS scheme. We are also thankful to Central Department of Emerging Life Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar for providing the necessary research facilities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saraswati Saini
    • 1
  • Jatinder Kaur Katnoria
    • 1
  • Inderpreet Kaur
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Botanical and Environmental SciencesGuru Nanak Dev UniversityAmritsarIndia
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Centre for Advanced StudiesGuru Nanak Dev UniversityAmritsarIndia

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