Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 11111–11119 | Cite as

Identification of functional groups of Opuntia ficus-indica involved in coagulation process after its active part extraction

  • Omar Bouaouine
  • Isabelle Bourven
  • Fouad Khalil
  • Michel Baudu
Research Article


Opuntia ficus-indica that belongs to the Cactaceae family and is a member of Opuntia kind has received increasing research interest for wastewater treatment by flocculation. The objectives of this study were (i) to provide more information regarding the active constituents of Opuntia spp. and (ii) to improve the extracting and using conditions of the flocculant molecules for water treatment. A classic approach by jar test experiments was used with raw and extracted material by solubilization and precipitation. The surface properties of solid material were characterized by FTIR, SEM, zeta potential measurement, and surface titration. The splitting based on the solubility of the material with pH and the titration of functional groups completed the method. The optimal pH value for a coagulation–flocculation process using cactus solid material (CSM) was 10.0 and a processing rate of 35 mg L−1. The alkaline pH of flocculation suggests an adsorption mechanism with bridging effect between particles by water-soluble extracted molecules. To validate this mechanism, an extraction water was carried out at pH = 10 (optimum of flocculation) and the solution was acidified (pH = 7) to allow precipitation of so considered active flocculant molecules. The strong flocculant property of this extract was verified, and titration of this solution showed at least one specific pKa of 9.0 ± 0.6. This pKa corresponds to phenol groups, which could be assigned to lignin and tannin.


Flocculation Opuntia ficus-indica Biotreatment Extraction Colloids 


Funding information

The authors would like to thank the bilateral Toubkal PHC program for its financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Groupement de Recherche Eau, Sol et Environnement (GRESE)University of LimogesLimogesFrance
  2. 2.Laboratory of Applied Chemistry (LCA)University Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah of FezFezMorocco

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