Aim and Objective: Wastewater treatment/remediation is a very important process that
has a great environmental and economic impact. Therefore, it is crucial to innovate different
methods to remove pollutants of different sources from wastewater. This work was conducted in
order to study the removal of lead (Pb+2) from wastewater using microspheres of composites of
sodium alginate, cellulose and chitosan, as well as using a cost-effective green route through
composites of sodium alginate and dried water hyacinth.
Materials and Methods: Molecular modeling at B3LYP/6-31g(d,p) was utilized to study sodium
alginate, cellulose and chitosan. Sodium alginate was cross-linked with calcium chloride to form
microspheres, then both sodium alginate/cellulose and sodium alginate/chitosan were also crosslinked
as 50/50 to form microspheres. The roots of the aquatic plant water hyacinth in dry form
were added to the cross-linked sodium alginate for up to 70%. SEM and FTIR were employed to
study the surface of the prepared microspheres and their structures respectively. Atomic absorption
spectroscopy was used to study the levels of Pb.
Results: Molecular modeling indicated that the blending of such structures enhances their ability to
bind with surrounding molecules owing to their ability to form hydrogen bonds. SEM results
indicated that homogeneous structures of cellulose and chitosan are deformed when blended with
sodium alginate, and FTIR confirmed the proper formation of the desired blends. Microspheres
from sodium alginate showed the ability to remove Pb+2 from wastewater. SEM indicated further
deformation in the morphology with the roughness of sodium alginate/water hyacinth
microspheres, while FTIR confirmed the uniform matrices of the microspheres. The removal of
Pb+2 was enhanced because of the addition of dried water hyacinth's roots.
Conclusion: Modeling, experimental and kinetic data highlight sodium alginate/water hyacinth
root as a green route to remediate Pb+2 from wastewater.