Mechanism of arsenic removal using chitosan and nanochitosan

Katrina C.M. Kwok, Len Foong Koong, Guohua Chen, Gordon McKay

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Chitosan, a natural polysaccharide copolymer of glucosamine and N-acetyl-glucosamine, possesses one free primary amine and two free hydroxyl groups on each glucosamine unit. It has a polycationic nature and an abundance of amine functional groups. The sorption equilibrium and kinetics of arsenate onto chitosan flakes have been studied. The effect of pH on the adsorption capacity and the uptake kinetics is an important parameter to investigate the adsorption mechanism of anionic species such as arsenate ions on the protonated amine groups of chitosan. The equilibrium sorption and batch kinetic studies of arsenate ions on chitosan were performed at initial As concentration of 250-11,000μgL-1and initial pH ranging from pH=3.50-5.50. The experimental results showed that initially for approximately the first 30min there is a rapid and high adsorption of arsenate ions onto the chitosan leading to a maximum uptake capacity after this short time. However, this stage is followed by a slow desorption of arsenate from the chitosan with a steady increase in solution pH. A novel reversible pseudo-first order kinetic model was developed and applied to correlate this newly reported adsorption-desorption phenomenon. The physical and chemical properties of chitosan were studied and presented in terms of its surface and structural properties such as the degree of deacetylation, crystallinity, surface charge and its swelling properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption
  • Arsenate removal
  • Chitosan
  • Desorption
  • Mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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