A novel adsorbent for heavy metal remediation in aqueous environments

C. M. Zvinowanda, J. O. Okonkwo, P. N. Shabalala, N. M. Agyei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to investigate the possibility of using maize tassel as an alternative adsorbent for the removal of chromium (VI) and cadmium (II) ions from aqueous solutions. The effect of pH, solution temperature, contact time, initial metal ion concentration and adsorbent dose on the adsorption of chromium (VI) and cadmium (II) by tassel was investigated using batch methods. Adsorption for both chromium (VI) and cadmium (II) was found to be highly pH dependent compared to the other parameters investigated. Obtained results gave an adsorption capacity of 79.1 % for chromium (VI) at pH 2, exposure time of 1h at 25 °C. Maximum capacity of cadmium of 88 % was obtained in the pH range of 5-6 at 25 °C after exposure time of 1 h. The adsorption capacities of tassel for both chromium (VI) and cadmium (II) were found to be comparable to those of other commercial adsorbents currently in use for the removal of heavy metals from aqueous wastes. These results have demonstrated the immense potential of maize tassel as an alternative adsorbent for toxic metal ions remediation in polluted water and wastewater.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-434
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption capacity
  • Batch studies
  • Energy dispersive x-ray
  • Fourier transform infrared
  • Maize tassel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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