Saraca indica leaf powder for decontamination of Pb: removal, recovery, adsorbent characterization and equilibrium modeling

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The present study explores the effectiveness of Saraca indica leaf powder, a surplus low value agricultural waste, in removing Pb ions from aqueous solution. The influence of pH, biomass dosage, contact time, particle size and metal concentration on the removal process were investigated. Batch studies indicated that maximum biosorption capacity for Pb was 95.37% at the pH 6.5. The sorption process followed the first order rate kinetics. The adsorption equilibrium data fitted best to both Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. Morphological changes observed in scanning electron micrographs of untreated and metal treated biomass confirmed the phenomenon of biosorption. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy of native and exhausted leaf powder confirmed lead biomass interactions responsible for sorption. Acid regeneration was tried for several cycles with a view to recover the sorbed metal ion and also to restore the sorbent to its original state. The findings showed that Saraca indica leaf powder can easily be envisaged as a new, vibrant, low cost biosorbent for metal clean up operations.

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