Higher Cd adsorption on biogenic elemental selenium nanoparticles
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Cadmium (Cd) is a carcinogenic metal contaminating the environment and ending up in wastewaters. There is therefore a need for improved methods to remove Cd by adsorption. Biogenic elemental selenium nanoparticles have been shown to adsorb Zn, Cu and Hg, but these nanoparticles have not been tested for Cd removal. Here we studied the time-dependency and adsorption isotherm of Cd onto biogenic elemental selenium nanoparticles using batch adsorption experiments. We measured ζ-potential values to assess the stability of nanoparticles loaded with Cd. Results show that the maximum Cd adsorption capacity amounts to 176.8 mg of Cd adsorbed per g of biogenic elemental selenium nanoparticles. The ζ-potential of Cd-loaded nanoparticles became less negative from −32.7 to −11.7 mV when exposing nanoparticles to an initial Cd concentration of 92.7 mg L−1. This is the first study that demonstrates the high Cd uptake capacity of biogenic elemental selenium nanoparticles, of 176.8 mg g−1, when compared to that of traditional adsorbents such as carboxyl-functionalized activated carbon, of 13.5 mg g−1. An additional benefit is the easy solid–liquid separation by gravity settling due to coagulation of Cd-loaded biogenic elemental selenium nanoparticles.