Microchimica Acta

, 185:290 | Cite as

Preconcentration and speciation of arsenic by using a graphene oxide nanoconstruct functionalized with a hyperbranched polyethyleneimine

  • Hilal Ahmad
  • Khalid Umar
  • Syed Ghazanfar Ali
  • Priyanka Singh
  • Sheikh Safiul Islam
  • Haris Manzoor Khan
Original Paper


A column sorbent for arsenic was obtained through immobilization of highly branched polyethylenimine (PEI) on graphene oxide (GO). The composite material enables speciation of arsenic by tuning the pH of the sample solution which governs the surface charge of the sorbent, depending on whether amino groups (-NH2) are present (at high pH) or ammonium groups (-NH3+; at low pH). The composite can be applied to improved speciation of arsenic (compared to unmodified GO). There is no need for oxidation or reduction of arsenic. A column procedure was applied for the sequestered extraction and speciation of As(III) and As(V) from environmental water samples before their determination by hydride generation-microwave induced plasma-atomic emission spectrometry. The method has a preconcentration factor of 440 for As(III) and of 400 for As(V). The limits of detection (at 3 S/N) are extremely low, being 1.8 ± 0.2 ngL−1 for As(III) and 1.3 ± 0.08 ngL−1 for As(V). This is much lower than the arsenic guideline value of 10 μgL−1 as given by the WHO.

Graphical abstract

Graphene oxide interconnected with polyethyleneimine has been employed for the speciation and determination of arsenic. Quantitation by atomic emission spectroscopy reveals a high preconcentration factor (440 and 400) and low LODs of 1.8 ± 0.2 and 1.3 ± 0.08 ngL−1for As(III) and As(V), respectively.


Adsorption Selectivity Solid phase extraction Removal Wastewater Remediation Toxicity Nanosorbent 



The author (Dr. Hilal Ahmad) is grateful to Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) to provide fund under “National Postdoctoral Fellowship” program for the year 2017-2018, project No. NPDF-000995.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

604_2018_2829_MOESM1_ESM.docx (107 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 107 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Nanoscience and NanotechnologyJamia Millia Islamia (A Central University)New DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil EngineeringUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaJohor BahruMalaysia
  3. 3.Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Water Security (IPASA), Research Institute for Sustainable EnvironmentUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaJohor BahruMalaysia
  4. 4.Department of Microbiology, Nanotechnology and Antimicrobial Drug Resistance Research Laboratory, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and HospitalAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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