Use of new local plant-based coagulants for turbid water treatment

  • A. IqbalEmail author
  • G. Hussain
  • S. Haydar
  • N. Zahara
Original Paper


This study was conducted to identify low-cost plant materials as coagulants for water treatment. Four abundantly grown and protein-enriched plant materials (normally used as forage for livestock) were selected as bio coagulants: Medicago sativa, Dolichos lablab, Pennisteum glucum and Opuntia microdasys. Their efficiencies for turbidity removal from laboratory-prepared water were analyzed and compared with the chemical coagulant (alum). The optimum doses for alum, Medicago sativa, Dolichos lablab, Pennisteum glucum and Opuntia microdasys were found out to be 20 mg/L, 50 mg/L, 10 mg/L, 50 mg/L and 40 mg/L, respectively. Optimum pH was 6.5, 5, 6.5, 8.5 and 7, respectively. The maximum coagulation activity observed was 96% for alum and 96%, 99%, 98% and 69% for Medicago sativa, Dolichos lablab, Pennisteum glucum and Opuntia microdasys, respectively. Single-factor analysis of variance showed that pH had more dominant effect on turbidity removal as compared to coagulant dosage. Fourier transform infrared analyses confirmed the presence of protein-specific functional groups including strong and broad 1° and 2° amines, medium aliphatic amines group and Amide I in all bio coagulants responsible for coagulation activity. Through micro-photographic analysis, floc sizes observed for alum, Medicago sativa, Dolichos lablab, Pennisteum glucum and Opuntia microdasys were up to 15 µm, 22 µm, 20–50 µm, 20–40 µm and ≤ 10 µm. The common coagulation mechanism for all coagulants observed was charge neutralization. Among all coagulants, the most economically feasible coagulant was found out to be Pennisteum glucum.


Bio coagulants Coagulation activity Turbidity Water treatment 



We are very grateful to the logistic support provided by University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan and University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila, Pakistan.


  1. Abdel-Aziz SM, Hamed HA, Mouafi FE, Abdelwahed NAM (2011) Extracellular metabolites produced by a novel strain, Bacillus alvei NRC-14:3. Synthesis of a bioflocculant that has chitosan-like structure. Life Sci J 8(4):883–890Google Scholar
  2. Abidin ZZ, Madehi N, Yunus R (2017) Coagulative behaviour of Jatropha curcas and its performance in wastewater treatment. J Environ Prog Sustain Energy 36(6):1709–1718. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amagloh FK, Benang A (2009) Effectiveness of Moringa oleifera seed as coagulant for water purification. Afr J Agric Res 4(2):119–123Google Scholar
  4. Ayekoe CYP, Robert D, Lanciné DG (2017) Combination of coagulation-flocculation and heterogeneous photocatalysis for improving the removal of humic substances in real treated water from Agbô River (Ivory-Coast). Catal Today 281:2–13. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baptista ATA, Silva MO, Gomes RG, Bergamasco R, Veira MF, Veira AMS (2017) Protein fractionation of seeds of Moringa oleifera lam and its application in superficial water treatment. Sep Purif Technol 180:114–124. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barth A (2000) The infrared absorption of amino acid side chains. Prog Biophys Mol Biol 74(3):141–173. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camacho FP, Sousa VS, Bergamosco R, Teixeira MR (2017) The use of Moringa oleifera as a natural coagulant in surface water treatment. Chem Eng J 313:226–237. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. de Graaf IE, van Beek RL, Gleeson T, Nils Moosdorf, Schmitz O, Sutanudjaja EH, Bierkens MF (2017) A global-scale two-layer transient groundwater model: development and application to groundwater depletion. Adv Water Resour 102:53–67. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fahmy Y, El-Wakil NA, El-Gendy AA, Abou-Zeid RE, Youssef MA (2010) Plant proteins as binders in cellulosic paper composites. Int J Biol Macromol 47(1):82–85. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jadhav MV, Mahajan YS (2014) Assessment of feasibility of natural coagulants in turbidity removal and modeling of coagulation process. Desalination Water Treat 52(31–33):5812–5821. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Janna H (2016) Effectiveness of using natural materials as a coagulant for reduction of water turbidity in water treatment. World J Eng Technol 4(04):505. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jayalakshmi G, Saritha V, Dwarapureddi BK (2017) A review on native plant based coagulants for water purification. Int J Appl Environ Sci 12(3):469–487Google Scholar
  13. Jones AN, Bridgeman J (2016) Investigating the characteristic strength of flocs formed from crude and purified Hibiscus extracts in water treatment. Water Res 103:21–29. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Megersaa M, Beyenea A, Ambelua A, Triest L (2017) Extraction of natural coagulants from Maerua subcordata and Moringa stenopetala for use in turbid water treatment. Desalination Water Treat 59:127–134. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Miller SM, Fugate EJ, Craver VO, Smith JA, Zimmerman JB (2008) Toward understanding the efficacy and mechanism of Opuntia spp. as a natural coagulant for potential application in water treatment. Environ Sci Technol 42(12):4274–4279. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mukhtar A, Ali W, Hussain G (2015) A preliminary study of Opuntia stricta as a coagulant for turbidity removal in surface waters. Proc Pak Acad Sci 52(2):117–124Google Scholar
  17. Narayasamy S, Saud HM (2014) Water phytoremediation by sedimentation using moringa oleifera seed powder to remove water turbidity in Malaysia. J Agric Chem Environ 3(02):74. Google Scholar
  18. Oladoja NA, Unuabonah EI, Amuda OS, Kolawole OM (2017) Operational principles and material requirements for coagulation/flocculation and adsorption-based water treatment operations. In: Polysaccharides as a green and sustainable resources for water and wastewater treatment. SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science, Springer, Cham, Springer, pp 1–11.
  19. Oloruntade A, Afuye G (2013) A case for the use of Moringa olifera as a natural coagulant to improve water supply in rural farms in Nigeria. Acad Res Int 4(6):530Google Scholar
  20. Pritchard M, Mkandawire T, Edmondson A, O’Neill JG, Kululanga G (2009) Potential of using plant extracts for purification of shallow well water in Malawi. Phys Chem Earth Parts A/B/C 34(13):799–805. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rahman MM, Sarker P, Saha B, Jakarin N, Shammi M, Uddin MK, Sikder MT (2016) Removal of turbidity from the river water using Tamarindusindica and Litchi chinensis Seeds as natural coagulant. Int J Environ Prot Policy 3(1–2):19–26. Google Scholar
  22. Ramavandi B (2014) Treatment of water turbidity and bacteria by using a coagulant extracted from Plantago ovata. Water Resour Ind 6:36–50. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rao N (2005) Use of plant material as natural coagulants for treatment of wastewater. Water Sci Technol Water Supply 1(1):67–71Google Scholar
  24. Rodríguez AOE, Andrade BW, Díaz LF, Arreita AA, Pombo LM (2016) The Asterceae as natural coagulants of the water from the Bogotá river (upper basin). PhOL 2:151–156Google Scholar
  25. Sa’id S, Mohammed K, Adie DB, Okuofu CA (2016) Turbidity removal from surface water using Tamarindus indica crude pulp extract. Bayero J Pure Appl Sci 9(1):236–240. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shilpaa B, Akankshaa K, Girish P (2012) Evaluation of cactus and hyacinth bean peels as natural coagulants. Int J Chem Environ Eng 3(3):1242–1246Google Scholar
  27. Som AM, Fateh A (2018) Performance of dragon study of dragon fruit foliage as a plant based coagulant for treatment of palm oil mill effluent from three phase decenters. BioResources 13(2):4290–4300Google Scholar
  28. Subramonian W, Wu TY, Chai SP (2014) A comprehensive study on coagulant performance and floc characterization of natural Cassia obtusifolia seed gum in treatment of raw pulp and paper mill effluent. J Ind Crops Prod 61:317–324. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thakur SS, Choubey S (2014a) Use of Tannin based natural coagulants for water treatment: an alternative to inorganic chemicals. Int J ChemTech Res 6:3628–3634Google Scholar
  30. Thakur SS, Choubey S (2014b) Assessment of coagulation efficiency of Moringa oleifera and Okra for treatment of turbid water. Arch Appl Sci Res 6(2):24–30Google Scholar
  31. Thakur SS, Nair S, Tiwari A (2017) Alternative approach for water treatment by using natural coagulants. Asian J Chem 29(6):1235. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Theodoro JDP, Lenz GF, Zara RF, Bergamasco R (2013) Coagulants and natural polymers: perspectives for the treatment of water. Plast Polym Technol 2(3):55–62Google Scholar
  33. Usman B, Saidat OG, Abdulwahab G (2016) Enhancement of pumpkin seed coagulant efficiency using a natural polyelectrolyte coagulant aid. Int J ChemTech Res 7(5):781–793Google Scholar
  34. Vijayaraghavan G, Sivakumar T, Kumar AV (2011) Application of plant based coagulants for waste water treatment. Int J Adv Eng Res Stud 1(1):88–92. Google Scholar
  35. Yongabi KA (2010) Biocoagulants for water and waste water purification: a review. Int Rev Chem Eng 2(3):444–458Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Engineering and ResearchUniversity of Engineering and Technology, LahoreLahorePakistan
  2. 2.Department of Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Engineering and Technology, TaxilaTaxilaPakistan

Personalised recommendations