Human Hair Biogenic Fiber as a Biosorbent of Multiple Heavy Metals from Aqueous Solutions

Helan Zhang, Fernando Carrillo-Navarrete, Cristina Palet-Ballús*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Human hair natural fiber is mainly considered a waste in our society and its disposal can cause a major environmental impact. Hence, its valorization as a biosorbent of pollutants such as heavy metals is an interesting route to explore since it can reduce the amount of waste and at the same time contributes to the circular economy strategy. In this work, the ability of two kinds of human hairs, used as biosorbents to remove Cr(III), Ni(II), Co(II), Mn(II), Cu(II), Zn(II), Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions from multiple-metal aqueous solutions, were examined and compared under different operating conditions. The influence of the time, pH and initial metal concentration on the metal uptake were studied. The biosorption kinetics and isotherm were also modeled observing that pseudo-second-order kinetic model and Langmuir model fitted successfully experimental data. Moreover, biosorption process did not significantly modify the morphology and the chemical structure of the hair samples, which was proved by SEM and FT-IR studies. These kinetic results underline the satisfactory capacity of human hair for the biosorption of Pb(II), Cu(II) and Cr(II) (values up to 95%), pointing up the high efficacy of human hair for the removal of heavy metal ions from aqueous media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2018-2033
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Natural Fibers
Issue number6
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2020


  • biofibre
  • biosorption
  • Hair
  • isotherms
  • kinetics
  • metals


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