Evaluation of Pb (II) Adsorption from Aqueous Solutions Using Brassica nigra as a Biosorbent

Warren Reátegui-Romero1, *, Walter J. Cadenas-Vásquez1, María E. King-Santos1, Walter F. Zaldivar Alvarez1, Ricardo A. Y. Posadas2
1 Department of Chemical Engineering and Textile (FIQT), National University of Engineering (UNI), Av. Tupac Amaru No. 210, Lima 25, Lima, Peru
2 Universidad Continental, Av. San Carlos 1980, San Antonio Urbanization, Huancayo District, Huancayo, Peru

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© 2019 Reátegui‒Romero.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Textile (FIQT), National University of Engineering (UNI), Av. Tupac Amaru No. 210, Lima 25, Lima, Peru;
Fax: 073211052; Tel: +966-543776627; Email:



The Pb non-biodegradability results in bioaccumulation in living organisms causing serious health disorders. The present study aimed to investigate the capacity of Pb (II) adsorption in aqueous solutions using the Brassica nigra species as biosorbent.


The present study was conducted using a synthetic solution with three Pb (II) concentrations (5, 15, and 30 ppm). The B. nigra was suitably treated until it became dry particles. After sifting it, three ranges of grain sizes were obtained. Samples of dry particles were analyzed before and after the biosorption to analyze their topography (SEM), as well as the elements on their surface (EDS). The influence of different operating variables on the biosorption of Pb (II) were analyzed. Kinetics of Pb (II) biosorption was analyzed with pseudo first and second order models. The biosorption in the equilibrium was studied with the Langmuir isotherm and Freundlich isotherm models.


The biosorbent B. nigra showed to be efficient for the adsorption of Pb (II). The most influential variables in the adsorption were pH, particle size, and biosorbent/solution ratio. The optimum pH for the adsorption of lead was 5 and removed 82.10% of lead from solution at 5 ppm, 82.24% at 15 ppm and 57.95% at 30 ppm. The results for the particle size between 177 and 297 μm were 82.65% for 5 ppm, 73.71% for 15 ppm, and 53.54% for 30 ppm. The biosorbent/solution ratio of 0.6 mg/mL or the 30 mg dose of biosorbent removed 80.26% for 5 ppm, 79.32% for 15 ppm, and 59.87% for 30 ppm. Biosorption isothermal data could be well interpreted by the Langmuir model with a maximum adsorption capacity of 53.476 mg/g of lead ion on B. nigra stem and roots biomass. The kinetic experimental data was properly correlated with the second-order kinetic model (R2 = 0.9997). Thus, the best desorbing agent was HNO3 (0.1N) for Pb (II) desorption.


Our study showed that the herb B. nigra, without any chemical treatment, can be used to remove heavy metals such as Pb (II) from water and aqueous solution.

Keywords: Brassica nigra, Pb (II), Biosorbent, Adsorption, Langmuir Isotherm, Freundlich Isotherm.