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Onion soaks up heavy metal: Bioremediation with waste food

Date:
December 10, 2012
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
Onion and garlic waste from the food industry could be used to mop up hazardous heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, iron, lead, mercury and tin in contaminated materials, according to a new research.
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Onion and garlic waste from the food industry could be used to mop up hazardous heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, iron, lead, mercury and tin in contaminated materials, according to a research paper published in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution.

Biotechnologists Rahul Negi, Gouri Satpathy, Yogesh Tyagi and Rajinder Gupta of the GGS Indraprastha University in Delhi, India, explain how waste from the processing and canning of onion (Allium cepa L.) and garlic (Allium sativum L.) could be used as an alternative remediation material for removing toxic elements from contaminated materials including industrial effluent. The team has studies the influence of acidity or alkalinity, contact time, temperature and concentration of the different materials present to optimize conditions for making a biological heavy metal filter for industrial-scale decontamination.

They have found that at 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), the efficiency of the clean-up process is largely dependent on pH (acidity or alkalinity) and equilibration time usually occurs within half an hour; a pH of 5 was optimal. They demonstrated the maximum extraction was achievable for lead, one of the most troublesome metallic environmental pollutants. They could extract more than 10 milligrams per gram of Allium material from a test solution containing 5 grams per liter of mixed metal ion solution, amounting to recovery efficiency of more than 70%. The absorbed metals can be released into a collecting vessel using nitric acid and the biomass reused.

The team experimented with Allium biomass to demonstrated effective removal of heavy metals from both simulated and actual industrial effluents. "The technique appears to be industrially applicable and viable," they suggest. "This may provide an affordable, environmental friendly and low maintenance technology for small and medium scale industries in developing countries," they conclude.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Inderscience Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rahul Negi, Gouri Satpathy, Yogesh K. Tyagi, Rajinder K. Gupta. Biosorption of heavy metals by utilising onion and garlic wastes. International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 2012; 49 (3/4): 179 DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2012.050898

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Inderscience Publishers. "Onion soaks up heavy metal: Bioremediation with waste food." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210112345.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2012, December 10). Onion soaks up heavy metal: Bioremediation with waste food. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 8, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210112345.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Onion soaks up heavy metal: Bioremediation with waste food." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210112345.htm (accessed July 8, 2015).

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