Hexavalent chromium adsorption on virgin, biochar, and chemically modified carbons prepared from Phanera vahlii fruit biomass: equilibrium, kinetics, and thermodynamics approach

  • Abhishek Ajmani
  • Tasrin Shahnaz
  • Senthilmurugan Subbiah
  • Selvaraju NarayanasamyEmail author
Research Article


A novel biosorbent Phanera vahlii fruit biomass (PVF) and its biochar and chemically modified forms were studied for the elimination of Cr(VI) from synthetic solutions. Biosorbents were characterized through BET, FTIR, FESEM, EDX, and TGA technique. The parameters influencing biosorption were optimized and found as pH 2.0, temperature 303 K, initial metal concentration 500 mg/L, and biosorbent dosage 0.5 g/L. The ideal contact time was 180 min for all biosorbents. Freundlich isotherm was found to have good correlation with investigational data, which indicated that biosorption takes place in multiple layer style. Langmuir adsorption isotherm yielded the highest biosorption capacity (Qo) to be 159.1, 225.1, 244.1, and 278.5 mg/g for Phanera vahlii fruit biomass, Phanera vahlii biochar, Phanera vahlii phosphoric acid activated carbon, and Phanera vahlii zinc chloride activated carbon, respectively. Experimental data had good correlation with pseudo-second-order kinetic model fitted. Thermodynamic studies indicated the biosorption process to be spontaneous, stable, and endothermic. Thus, it was concluded that Phanera vahlii fruit biomass and the derived activated carbons are promising biosorbents for adsorption of chromium from aqueous solutions.

Graphical abstract


Phanera vahlii fruit biomass Activated carbon Chromium Isotherm Kinetics Zinc chloride 



Biosorption capacity (mg/g)


Biosorption capacity at equilibrium (mg/g)


Initial metal concentration (mg/L)


Metal concentration at equilibrium (mg/L)


Metal concentration at t time (mg/L)


Volume of the metal solution (L)


Weight of the biosorbent (g)


Biosorption capacity from Langmuir model (mg/g)


Langmuir isotherm constant (L/mg)


Separation factor (dimensionless)


Freundlich isotherm constant (mg/g) (L/mg)1/n


Freundlich exponent (dimensionless)


Maximum biosorption capacity from Dubinin–Radushkevich model (mg/g)


Constant related to the mean free energy of biosorption (mol2/kJ2)


Polanyi potential of Dubinin–Radushkevich model (kJ/mol)


Universal gas constant (8.314 J/mol/K)


Temperature (K)


Apparent adsorption energy (kJ/mol)


Pseudo-first-order constant (min−1)


Pseudo-second-order constant (g/mg/min)


Intraparticle diffusion rate constant (mg/g/min1/2)


Intercept of intraparticle diffusion model


Free energy change (kJ/mol)


Enthalpy change (kJ/mol)


Entropy change (kJ/mol/K)


Distribution coefficient



The Central Instrumentation Facility, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati is highly appreciated for the technical assistance.

Funding information

This study received monetary assistance from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India (Grant No. BSBESUGIITG01213xSEN001).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abhishek Ajmani
    • 1
  • Tasrin Shahnaz
    • 1
  • Senthilmurugan Subbiah
    • 2
  • Selvaraju Narayanasamy
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biosciences and BioengineeringIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia

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