Adsorption of heavy metals from multi-metal aqueous solution by sunflower plant biomass-based carbons

  • M. Jain
  • V. K. GargEmail author
  • K. Kadirvelu
  • M. Sillanpää
Original Paper


This study reports the competitive adsorption of Ni(II), Cd(II) and Cr(VI) onto sunflower waste biomass carbons, viz. sunflower head carbon and sunflower stem carbon from multi-metal aqueous solution. The adsorption capacity of the adsorbents was highest in mono-metal system but decreased with increase in the number of co-ions. The adsorption capacity in mono-metal system was 0.32 and 0.45 mM/g for Ni(II), 0.25 and 0.32 mM/g for Cd(II) and 0.20 and 0.28 for Cr(VI) by sunflower head carbon and sunflower stem carbon, respectively, whereas, in a binary system, adsorption capacity of sunflower head carbon for Ni(II) was 0.24 mM/g in 0.5 mM Cd(II) solution which was further reduced to 0.18 mM/g in 2.0 mM Cd(II). The effect of co-cations was more pronounced in tertiary systems. Similar behavior was observed for other systems also. The interactive effect of multi-metal ions in binary and tertiary component systems was antagonistic in nature, i.e., the effect of mixture is less than the sum of individual effect of the constituents or when the effect of individual substances added together is less than the expected in response to multiple substances. Langmuir model best fitted the data for all the systems with r 2 value >0.95.


Competitive adsorption Chromium Cadmium Nickel Helianthus annuus 



The present work was supported by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Govt. of India, New Delhi, in the form of Senior Research Fellowship (Grant number 09/752(0022)/2009/EMR-I. The authors express their thanks for financial support to this work.



Sunflower head carbon


Sunflower stem carbon




Scanning electron microscope


Energy dispersive X-ray analysis


Fourier transform infrared microscopy


  1. Aksu Z, Acikel U, Kutsal T (1999) Investigation of simultaneous biosorption of copper(II) and chromium(VI) on dried chlorella vulgaris from binary metal mixtures: application of multicomponent adsorption isotherms. Sep Purif Technol 34:501–524Google Scholar
  2. Chang JS, Chen CC (1998) Quantitative analysis and equilibrium models of selective adsorption in multimetal systems using a bacterial biosorbent. Sep Sci Technol 33:611–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chiban M, Soudani A, Sinan F, Persin M (2011) Single, binary and multi-component adsorption of some anions and heavy metals on environmentally friendly Carpobrotus edulis plant. Colloid Surf B 82:267–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. de Carvalho RP, Chong KH, Volesky B (1995) Evaluation of the Cd, Cu and Zn biosorption in two-metal systems using an algal biosorbent. Biotechnol Prog 11:39–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ghasemi M, Ghasemi N, Zahedi G, Alwi SRW, Goodarzi M, Javadian H (2014) Kinetic and equilibrium study of Ni(II) sorption from aqueous solutions onto Peganum harmala-L. Int J Environ Sci Technol 11:1835–1844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hadi P, Barford J, Mckay G (2014) Selective toxic metal uptake using an e waste based novel sorbent-single, binary and ternary systems. J Environ Chem Eng 2:332–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jain M, Garg VK, Kadirvelu K (2009) Equilibrium and kinetic studies for sequestration of Cr(VI) from simulated wastewater using sunflower waste biomass. J Hazard Mater 171:328–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jain M, Garg VK, Kadirvelu K (2010) Adsorption of hexavalent chromium from aqueous medium onto carbonaceous adsorbents prepared from waste biomass. J Environ Manag 91:949–957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jain M, Garg VK, Kadirvelu K (2013) Cadmium(II) sorption and desorption in a fixed bed column using sunflower waste carbon calcium-alginate beads. Bioresour Technol 129:242–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jain M, Garg VK, Kadirvelu, K (2014) Adsorption of Ni(II) onto chemically modified sunflower biomass. Desalin water treat article (in press)Google Scholar
  11. Kadirvelu K, Kavipriya M, Karthika C, Vennilamani N, Pattabhi S (2004) Mercury (II) adsorption by activated carbon made from sago waste. Carbon 42:745–752CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kadirvelu K, Goel J, Rajagopal C (2008) Sorption of lead, mercury and cadmium ions in multi-component system using carbon aerogel as adsorbent. J Hazard Mater 153:502–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Li YH, Wang S, Luan Z, Ding J, Xu C, Wu D (2003) Adsorption of cadmium(II) from aqueous solution by surface oxidized carbon nanotubes. Carbon 41:1057–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Machida M, Mochimaru T, Tatsumoto H (2006) Lead(II) adsorption onto the graphene layer of carbonaceous materials in aqueous solution. Carbon 44:2681–2688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mahajan G, Sud D (2013) Application of lingo-cellulosic waste material for heavy metal ions removal from aqueous solution. J Environ Chem Eng 1:1020–1027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mohan D, Singh KP (2002) Single and multi-component adsorption of cadmium and zinc using activated carbon derived from bagasse—an agricultural waste. Water Res 36:2304–2318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nguyen TAH, Ngo HH, Guo WS, Zhang J, Liang S, Yue QY, Li Q, Nguyen TV (2013) Applicability of agricultural waste and bi-products for adsorptive removal of heavy metals from wastewater. Bioresour Technol 148:574–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Reddy PMK, Krishanmurthy K, Mahammadunnisa SK, Dayamani A, Subrahmanyam C (2015) Preparation of activated carbons from bio-waste: effect of surface functional groups on methylene blue adsorption. Int J Environ Sci Technol 12:1363–1372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Saeed A, Iqbal M, Akhtar MW (2005) Removal and recovery of lead(II) from single and multimetal (Cd, Cu, Ni, Zn) solutions by crop milling waste (black gram husk). J Hazard Mater B117:65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sağ Y, Kutsal T (1996) Fully competitive biosorption of chromium(VI) and iron(III) ions from binary metal mixtures by R. arrhizus: use of the competitive langmuir model. Process Biochem 31:573–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sharma SK, Kalra KL, Koche GS (2012) Sunflower. In: Kole C, Joshai CSP, Shonnard DR (eds) Handbook of bioenergy crop plants. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, pp 717–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Srivastava VC, Mall ID, Mishra IM (2006) Modelling individual and competitive adsorption of cadmium(II) and zinc(II) metal ions from aqueous solution onto bagasse fly ash. Sep Sci Technol 41:2685–2710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sun G, Xu X (1997) Sunflower stalks as adsorbents for color removal from textile wastewater. Ind Eng Chem Res 36:808–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ting YP, Teo WK (1994) Uptake of cadmium and zinc by yeast: effects of co-metal ion and physical/chemical treatments. Bioresour Technol 50:113–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Vinh NV, Zafar M, Behera SK, Park HS (2015) Arsenic (III) removal from aqueous solution by raw and zinc-loaded pine cone biochar: equilibrium, kinetics and thermodynamics studies. Int J Environ Sci Technol 12:1283–1294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Witek-Krowiak A (2012) Analysis of temperature-dependent adsorption of Cu2+ ions on sunflower hulls: kinetics, equilibrium and mechanism of the process. Chem Eng J 192:13–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Jain
    • 1
    • 4
  • V. K. Garg
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. Kadirvelu
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. Sillanpää
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringGuru Jambheshwar University of Science and TechnologyHisarIndia
  2. 2.Defence, Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory (DEBEL)Defence Research and Development OrganizationBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.DRDO BU Centre for Life SciencesCoimbatoreIndia
  4. 4.Laboratory of Green Chemistry, Department of ChemistryLappeenranta University of TechnologyMikkeliFinland

Personalised recommendations