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Agarose-Immobilized LTA Zeolite: a Novel Material to Use in an Improved Treatment Process of Mine-Impacted Water

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Aiming to solve the difficulties inherent in the separation of adsorbents in powder form loaded with contaminant ions from treated solutions, this study presents the Linde Type A (LTA) zeolite immobilized in agarose (AG) as a new alternative outstanding adsorbent material (AG-LTA) for cation removal from mine-impacted water (MIW). Synthetic MIW containing Al3+, Fe2+, and Mn2+ ions was tested in adsorption processes with different LTA percentages (2.34, 4.00, 8.00, 12.00, and 13.66%) immobilized in agarose. The central composite rotational design carried out indicated the optimal values of LTA dosage (8.57 g L−1) and agitation rate (107 rpm), with removals of 99.49, 95.55, and 95.29% for Al3+, Mn2+, and Fe2+, respectively, in acidic conditions. Scanning electron microscopy and spectroscopic and thermogravimetric techniques allowed the characterization of the AG-LTA material, of the ion-saturated adsorbent, and identify the ion exchange of the adsorbates Al3+, Fe2+, and Mn2+ with the alkaline ions of LTA zeolite. Precipitation of the metal ions as hydroxides was not involved in the removal process. Experimental maximum sorption capacities of AG-LTA were 15.78, 3.02, and 19.23 mg g−1 for Al3+, Mn2+, and Fe2+, respectively. The high removal efficiency of the new AG-LTA adsorbent under acidic conditions may allow its use in the remediation of real MIW, complying with the stringency of environmental regulations. It is to note that AG-LTA is remarkably easy of separating from the aqueous medium after use

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The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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The authors acknowledge the Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil), Federal Institute of Santa Catarina (Brazil), and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development–CNPq (Brazil).

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Authors and Affiliations



Cristiano Luiz Chostak: conceptualization; methodology; validation; formal analysis and investigation; writing—original draft; writing—review and editing.

Aurora López-Delgado: conceptualization, writing—review and editing.

Isabel Padilla: conceptualization, writing—review and editing.

Flávio Rubens Lapolli: project administration.

María Angeles Lobo Recio: conceptualization, supervision, project administration, writing—review and editing.

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Correspondence to Cristiano Luiz Chostak.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Chostak, C.L., López-Delgado, A., Padilla, I. et al. Agarose-Immobilized LTA Zeolite: a Novel Material to Use in an Improved Treatment Process of Mine-Impacted Water. Water Air Soil Pollut 234, 365 (2023).

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