Arsenic adsorption by Fe(III)-loaded open-celled cellulose sponge. Thermodynamic and selectivity aspects

José Antonio Muñoz, Anna Gonzalo, Manuel Valiente

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129 Citations (Scopus)


Nowadays there is a great concern on the study of new adsorbent materials for either the removal or fixation of arsenic species because of their high toxicity and the health problems associated to such substances. The present paper reports a basic study of the adsorption of arsenic inorganic species from aqueous solutions using an open-celled cellulose sponge with anion-exchange and chelating properties (Forager Sponge). Consequences of preloading the adsorbent with Fe(III) to enhance the adsorption selectivity are discussed and compared with the nonloaded adsorbent properties. The interactions of arsenic species with the Fe(III)-loaded adsorbent are accurately determined to clarify the feasibility of an effective remediation of contaminated waters. Arsenate is effectively adsorbed by the nonloaded and the Fe(III)-loaded sponge in the pH range 2-9 (maximum at pH 7), whereas arsenite is only slightly adsorbed by the Fe(III)-loaded sponge in the pH range 5-10 (maximum at pH 9), being that the nonloaded sponge is unable to adsorb As(III). The maximum sorption capacities are 1.83 mmol As(V)/g (pH ∼ 4.5) and 0.24 mmol As(III)/g (pH ∼ 9.0) for the Fe(III)-loaded adsorbent. This difference is explained in terms of the different acidic behavior of both arsenic species. The interaction of the arsenic species with the Fe(III)loaded in the sponge is satisfactorily modeled. A 1:1 Fe:As complex is found to be formed for both species. H2AsO4- and H3AsO3 are determined to be adsorbed on Fe(III) with a thermodynamic affinity defined by log K = 2.5 ± 0.3 and log K = 0.53 ± 0.07, respectively. As(V) is thus, found to be more strongly adsorbed than As(III) on the Fe(III) loaded in the sponge. A significant enhancement on As(V) adsorption selectivity by loading Fe(III) in the sponge is observed, and the effectiveness of the Fe(III)-loaded sponge for the As(V) adsorption is demonstrated, even in the presence of high concentrations of interfering anions (chloride, nitrate, sulfate, and phosphate).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3405-3411
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2002


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