Use of agricultural and agroindustrial residues as alternative adsorbents of manganese and iron in aqueous solution

Abstract The increase in the volume of agricultural and agroindustrial waste, associated with improper disposal, is a growing worldwide problem. The recovery of those residues is of crucial importance, since it reduces environmental impacts, protects public health, and allows the addition of value to the materials. One of the ways of exploiting adsorbents is related to the capacity of some wastes to be used as alternative adsorbents in the efficient removal of microcontaminants in aqueous systems. This work assessed the use of agricultural and agroindustrial residues: maize straw, wheat straw, soybean straw and soybean hulls for the production of alternative adsorbents to remove iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) in water. For each residue investigated, two different polymers were obtained for use as adsorbents, a natural polymer (cellulose/lignin) and an EDTA-modified polymer (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid). The adsorbents were characterized through FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy) and nitrogen content. To evaluate the efficiency of the adsorbents, kinetic tests in batch mode and determination of Lagergren pseudo-first and pseudo-second order kinetic constants were performed. The results found that the modified polymer obtained from soybean hulls (SHE) showed increased Fe (96%) and Mn (88%) removal rate, in which the pseudo-second order kinetic model presented closer results between the experimental adsorption rates and the calculated ones for the two microcontaminants under study. In general, the modified soybean hulls proved to be a promising alternative adsorbent for the removal of iron and manganese in water treatment.