1 Environmental Science Research Laboratory, Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran

2 Organic Chemistry Research Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran


In this study, an easy synthesized method for preparation of chitosan/iron oxide nanocomposite as a bio-sorbent has been applied. Analytical techniques such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction; Field emission scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy were utilized to survey of morphological structure and the functional groups characterization. The histogram of frequency of particle size confirmed that medium size of the synthesized nanoparticles was 50 nm. Beside the obtained nanocomposite, application of chitosan as the precursor and shrimp shell as natural chitin and a natural polymer were assessed as adsorbents for decontamination of Ni2+, Cd2+ and Pb2+ as examples of heavy metals from drinking water. Batch studies were performed for adsorption experiments by changing variables such as pH, contact time and adsorbent dose. Based on the experimental sorption capacities, 58, 202 and 12 mg of Ni, Cd and Pb per g of Chitosan-Fe2O3 nanocomposite as adsorbent respectively, confirm that combination of Fe2O3 nanoparticles with chitosan makes a more efficient adsorbent than chitosan and chitin. Adsorbents in uptake of the mentioned heavy metals are in the order of Chitosan-Fe2O3 nanocomposite > chitosan> chitin. In addition, the kinetics and isotherm investigations were surveyed. Moreover, it has been shown that the synthesized nanocomposite significantly reduces the amount of the mentioned ions from the real wastewater sample.

Graphical Abstract

Synthesized chitosan/ iron oxide nanocomposite and shrimp shell in removal of nickel, cadmium and lead from aqueous solution


  • Three eco-friendly adsorbents were used successfully in size, adsorbent type and pH selective for separation of Ni, Cd and Pb ions from wastewater
  • Combination of Fe2O3 nanoparticles with chitosan made more efficient adsorbent than chitosan and chitin
  • Synthesized nanocomposite significantly reduced the amount of the mentioned ions from wastewater samples
  • Shrimp shell and chitosan-Fe2O3 nanocomposite were efficient adsorbents for treatment of polluted waters with Ni, Cd and Pb ions.


Main Subjects

Abdel-Ghani, N.T.; Rawash, E.S.A.; El-Chaghaby, G.A., (2016). Equilibrium and kinetic study for the adsorption of p-nitrophenol from wastewater using olive cake based activated carbon. Global J. Environ. Sci. Manage., 2(1): 11-18 (8 pages).

Al-Haj-Ali, A.; Al-Hunaidi, T., (2007). Sorption of aqueous heavy metal cations by fixed-beds of natural zeolite. Mu'tah J. Res. Stud., 22(2): 81-100 (20 pages).

Ali, I.; Al-othmsn, Z.A.; Alharbi, O.M., (2016). Uptake of pantoprazole drug residue from water using novel synthesized composite iron nano adsorbent. J. Mol. Liq., 218: 465-472 (8 pages).

Ariff, N.F.M.; Hanafiah, M.; Kamal, M. A.; Hussin, Z. M.; Ibrahim, S. C.; Ngah, W. S. W., (2016). Kinetics and isotherm studies on Nd (III) adsorption onto Xanthated chitosan.  Materials Science Forum, Trans. Tech. Publ., 857: 530-534(5 pages).

Athappan, A.; Sattler, M. L., (2013). A comparison of Bituminous coal-based and coconut Shell-Based activated carbon for removal of trace hazardous air pollutants in Landfill Gas. J. Civil Eng. Urban., 3(6): 331-337 (7 pages).

Bailey, S. E.; Olin, T. J.; Bricka, R. M.; Adrian, D. D., (1999). A review of potentially low-cost sorbents for heavy metals. Water Res., 33(11): 2469-2479 (11 pages).

Bernard, E.; Jimoh, A.; Odigure, J.O., (2013). Heavy metals removal from industrial wastewater by activated carbon prepared from coconut shell. Res. J. Chem. Sci., 3(8): 3-9 (7 pages).

Cai, W.; Duan, G.; Li, Y., (2014). Hierarchical micro/nanostructured materials fabrication properties and applications, Taylor and Francis group.

Cho, D.W.; Jeon, B. H.; Jeong, Y.; Nam, I. H.; Choi, U. K.; Kumar, R.; Song, H., (2016). Synthesis of hydrous zirconium oxide-impregnated chitosan beads and their application for removal of fluoride and lead. Appl. Surf. Sci., 372: 13-19 (7 pages).

Dehghani, M.H.; Ghadermazi, M.; Bhatnagar, A.; Sadighara, P.; Jahed-Khanihi, G.; Heibati, B.; Mckay, G., (2016). Adsorptive removal of endocrine disrupting bisphenol A from aqueous solution using chitosan. J. Environ. Eng-ASCE, 4(3): 2647- 2655 (9 pages).

Gupta, V.K.; Srivastava, S.K.; Mohan, D.; Sharma, S., (1998). Design parameters for fixed bed reactors of activated carbon developed from fertilizer waste for the removal of some heavy metal ions. Waste Manage., 17(8): 517- 522 (6 pages).

Gupta, V.K.; Agarwal, S.; Saleh, T., (2011). Synthesis and characterization of alumina-coated carbon nanotubes and their application for lead removal. J. Hazard. Mater., 185: 17-23 (7 pages).

Gupta, V. K.; Nayak, A., (2012). Cadmium removal and recovery from aqueous solutions by novel adsorbents prepared from orange peel and Fe2O3 nanoparticles. Chem. Eng. J., 180:81- 90 (10 pages).

Gupta, V.K.; Ali, I.; Saleh, T.; Nayak, A.; Agarwal, S., (2012). Chemical treatment technologies for waste-water recycling-an overview. RSC Advances., 2: 6380-6388 (9 pages).

Gupta, V. K.; Saleh, T., (2013). Sorption of pollutants by porous carbon, carbon nanotubes and fullerene- an overview. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. Int., 20(5): 2828- 2843 (16 pages).

Hossein Beyki, M.; Miri, S.; Shemirani, F.; Bayat, M.; Rashidi Ranjbar, P., (2016). A new derivative of core–shell magnetic chitosan biopolymer: Synthesis, characterization and application for adsorption of lead and copper ions. Clean, 44(6): 710-719 (10 pages).

Huang, G.; Zhang, H.; Shi, J.X.; Langrish, T.A., (2009). Adsorption of chromium (VI) from aqueous solutions using cross-linked magnetic chitosan beads. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 48(5): 2646-2651 (6 pages).

Islam, M.S.; Sharif, S.B.; Lee, J.; Habiba, U.; Ang, B.C.; Afifi, A.M., (2017). Adsorption of divalent heavy metal ion by mesoporous-high surface area chitosan/poly (ethylene oxide) nanofibrous membrane. Carbohydr. Polym., 157: 57-64 (8 pages).

Jain, M.; Garg, V.; Kadirvelu, K.; Silanpaa, M., (2016). Adsorption of heavy metals from multi-metal aqueous solution by sunflower plant biomass-based carbons. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol., 13(2):493-500 (8 pages).

Jain, M.; Garg, V.K.; Garg, U.K.; Kadirvelu, K.; Silanpaa, M., (2015). Cadmium removal from wastewater using carbonaceous adsorbents prepared from sunflower waste. Int. J. Environ. Res., 9(3):1079-1088 (10 pages).

Karbassi, A.R.; Heidari, M., (2015). An investigation on role of salinity, pH and DO on heavy metals elimination throughout estuarial mixture. Global J. Environ. Sci. Manage., 1(1): 41-46 (6 pages).

Karthik, R.; Meenakshi, S., (2015). Removal of Pb(II) and Cd(II) ions from aqueous solution using polyaniline grafted chitosan. Chem. Eng. J., 263:168- 177(10 pages).

Keshvardoostchokami, M.; Zamani, A.; Piri, F., (2017). One-pot synthesis of chitosan/iron Oxide nanocomposite as an eco-friendly bioadsorbent for water remediation of methylene blue. Micro. Nano. Lett., (In Press).

Li, X.; Zhou, H.; Wu, W.; Wei, S.; Xu, Y.; Kuang, Y., (2015). Studies of heavy metal ion adsorption on Chitosan/Sulfydrylfunctionalized graphene oxide composites. J. Colloid Interface Sci., 448: 389-397 (9 pages).

Mallakpour, S.; Madani, M., (2016). Functionalized-MnO2/chitosan nanocomposites: A promising adsorbent for the removal of lead ions. Carbohydr. Polym, 147:53- 59 (7 pages).

Nodeh, H.R.; Ibrahim, W.A.W.; Sanagi, M.M.;  Aboul-Enein, H.Y., (2016). Magnetic graphene-based cyanopropyltriethoxysilane as an adsorbent for simultaneous determination of polar and non-polar organophosphorus pesticides in cow’s milk. RSC Advances, 6(30): 24853-24864 (12 pages).

Pandey, P.K.; Choubey, S.; Verma, Y.; Pandey, M.; Kamal, S.S.K.; Chandrashekhar, K., (2007). Biosorptive removal of Ni(II) from wastewater and industrial effluent. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 4(4): 332-339 (8 pages).

Park, J.H.; Ok, Y.S.; Kim, S.H.; Cho, J.S.; Heo, J.S.; Delaune, R.D.; Seo, D.C., (2016). Competitive adsorption of heavy metals onto sesame straw biochar in aqueous solutions. Chemosphere, 142: 77- 83 (7 pages).

Ren, Y.; Zhang, M.; Zhao, D., (2008). Synthesis and properties of magnetic Cu (II) ion imprinted composite adsorbent for selective removal of copper. Desalination, 228(1-3): 135- 149 (15 pages).

Repo, E.; Warchol, J.K.; Kurniawan, T.A.; Sillanpää, M.E.T., (2010). Adsorption of Co(II) and Ni(II) by EDTA- and/or DTPA-modified chitosan: Kinetic and equilibrium modeling. Chem. Eng. J., 161(1-2): 73- 82 (10 pages).

Saber-Samandari, S.; Saber-Samandari, S.; Nezafati, N.; Yahya, K., (2014). Efficient removal of lead (II) ions and methylene blue from aqueous solution using chitosan/Fe-hydroxyapatite nanocomposite beads. J. Environ. Manag., 146: 481-490 (10 pages).

Sonali, R.D.; Jayant, P.K.; Sunil, J.K., (2013). Research for removal of nickel from waste water: A review. Int. J. Sci. Eng. Technol. Res., 2(12): 2162-2166 (5 pages).

Sunil, J.; Jayant, P.K., (2013). Adsorption for cadmium removal from effluent- A Review. IJSETR, 2(10): 1840- 1844 (5 pages).

Tran, H. V.; Tran, L. D.; Nguyen, T. N., (2010). Preparation of chitosan/magnetite composite beads and their application for removal of Pb(II) and Ni(II) from aqueous solution. Mater. Sci. Eng., C, 30(2): 304- 310 (7 pages).

Vijayakumar, G.; Tamilarasan, R.; Dharmendirakunar, M., (2012). Adsorption, kinetic, equilibrium and thermodynamic studies on the removal of basic dye Rhodamine-B from aqueous solution by the use of natural adsorbent perlite. J. Mater. Environ. Sci., 3(1): 157- 170 (14 pages).

Wang, Q.; Chen, N.; Yu, Y.; Feng, C.; Ning, Q.; Hu, W., (2016a). Chromium (VI) removal from aqueous solution using a new synthesized adsorbent. Desalin. Water Treat., 57:4537- 4547 (11 pages).

Wang, Y.; Li, L.; Luo, C.; Wang, X.; Duan, H., (2016b). Removal of Pb2+ from water environment using a novel magnetic chitosan/graphene oxide imprinted Pb2+. Int. J. Biol. Macromol., 86:505- 511 (7 pages).

Wu, S.; Hu, J.; Wei, L.; Du, Y.; Shi, X.; Deng, H.; Zhang, L., (2014). Construction of porous chitosan–xylan–TiO2 hybrid with highly efficient sorption capability on heavy metals. J. Environ. Chem. Eng., 2: 1568-1577 (9 pages).

Yamani, J.S.; Lounsbury, A.W.; Zimmerman, J.B., (2016). Towards a selective adsorbent for arsenate and selenite in the presence of phosphate: Assessment of adsorption efficiency, mechanism, and binary separation factors of the chitosan-copper complex. Water Res., 88: 889-896 (8 pages).

Yuwei, C.; Jianglong, W., (2011). Preparation and characterization of magnetic chitosan nanoparticles and its application for Cu (II) removal. Chem. Eng. J., 168(1): 286-292 (7 pages).

Zamani, A.A.; Yaftian, M.R.; Parizanganeh, A.H., (2012). Multivariate statistical assessment of heavy metal pollution sources of groundwater around a lead and zinc plant. Iran. J. Environ. Health Sci. Eng., 9(29): 1-10 (10 pages).

Zamani, A.A.; Shokri R.; Yaftian, M.R.;  Parizanganeh, A.H., (2013). Adsorption of lead, zinc and cadmium ions from contaminated water onto Peganum Harmala seeds as biosorbent. Iran. J. Environ. Sci. Technol., 10(1): 93-102 (10 pages).


Letters to Editor

GJESM Journal welcomes letters to the editor for the post-publication discussions and corrections which allows debate post publication on its site, through the Letters to Editor. Letters pertaining to manuscript published in GJESM should be sent to the editorial office of GJESM within three months of either online publication or before printed publication, except for critiques of original research. Following points are to be considering before sending the letters (comments) to the editor.

[1] Letters that include statements of statistics, facts, research, or theories should include appropriate references, although more than three are discouraged.
[2] Letters that are personal attacks on an author rather than thoughtful criticism of the author’s ideas will not be considered for publication.
[3] Letters can be no more than 300 words in length.
[4] Letter writers should include a statement at the beginning of the letter stating that it is being submitted either for publication or not.
[5] Anonymous letters will not be considered.
[6] Letter writers must include their city and state of residence or work.
[7] Letters will be edited for clarity and length.