Removal of sodium and chloride ions from aqueous solutions using fique fibers (Furcraea spp.)

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Fique fibers obtained from the leaves of Furcraea spp., a highly abundant plant in the mountains of South America, may offer an alternative as biosorbents in desalination processes as they exhibit high removal capacities (13.26 meq/g for chloride ions and 15.52 meq/g for sodium ions) up to four times higher than exchange capacities commonly observed in synthetic resins. The ion removal capacity of the fibers was also found to be a function of the pH of the solution with the maximum removal of ions obtained at pH 8. Unlike most commercial ion exchange resins, our results suggest that fique fibers allow simultaneous removal of chloride and sodium ions.

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