Adsorption of nitrate from aqueous solution using activated carbon-supported Fe0, Fe2(SO4)3, and FeSO4

Document Type : Original Article


1 Kurdistan Environmental Health Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


In this laboratory scale study, impregnated almond shell activated carbon was used as adsorbent to investigate its feasibility for nitrate adsorption from aqueous medium. The effects of activated carbon dosage and contact time have been examined in batch experiments. Experimental data show that impregnated activated carbons by Fe0, Fe2 (SO4)3, and FeSO4 were more effective than virgin almond activated carbon in nitrate removal. The maximum nitrate removal was 70% and 10-15% for modified activated carbons and virgin activated carbon, respectively. These experiments were conducted at pH 6.2, 20 ºC, and initial concentrations of 20 mg/l nitrate-N. The increase in modified activated carbon dosages increased the removal of nitrate. The equilibrium time was found to be 30 min for modified activated carbons


  1. Della Rocca C, Belgiorno V, Meric S. Overview of in-situ applicable nitrate removal processes. Desalination 2007; 204(1-3): 46-62.
  2. Sawant SS, Prabhudessai L, Venkat K. Eutrophication status of marine environment of Mumbai and Jawaharlal Nehru ports. Environ Monit Assess 2007; 127(1-3): 283-91.
  3. Fan AM, Steinberg VE. Health implications of nitrate
  4. and nitrite in drinking water: an update on methemoglobinemia occurrence and reproductive and developmental toxicity. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 1996; 23(1 Pt 1): 35-43.
  5. Yang CY, Wu DC, Chang CC. Nitrate in drinking water and risk of death from colon cancer in Taiwan. Environ Int 2007; 33(5): 649-53.
  6. Aslan S, Cakici H. Biological denitrification of drinking water in a slow sand filter. J Hazard Mater 2007; 148(1-2): 253-8.
  7. Agyei NM, Strydom CA, Potgieter JH. The removal of phosphate ions from aqueous solution by fly ash, slag, ordinary Portland cement and related blends. Cement and Concrete Research 2002; 32(12): 1889-97.
  8. Mishra PC, Patel RK. Use of agricultural waste for the removal of nitrate-nitrogen from aqueous medium. J Environ Manage 2009; 90(1): 519-22.
  9. Mena-Duran CJ, Sun Kou MR., Lopez T, Azamar-Barrios JA, Aguilar DH, Dom?nguez MI, et al. Nitrate removal using natural clays modified by acid thermoactivation. Applied Surface Science 2007; 253(13): 5762-6.
  10. Mizuta K, Matsumoto T, Hatate Y, Nishihara K, Nakanishi T. Removal of nitrate-nitrogen from drinking water using bamboo powder charcoal. Bioresource Technology 2004; 95(3): 255-7.
  11. Shen W, Guo Q, Zhang Y, Liu Y, Zheng J, Cheng J, et al. The effect of activated carbon fiber structure and loaded copper, cobalt, silver on the adsorption of dichloroethylene. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 2006; 273(1-3): 147-53.
  12. Chen W, Parette R, Zou J, Cannon FS, Dempsey BA. Arsenic removal by iron-modified activated carbon. Water Research 2007; 41(9): 1851-8.
  13. Namasivayam C, Sangeetha D. Recycling of agricultural solid waste, coir pith: removal of anions, heavy metals, organics and dyes from water by adsorption onto ZnCl2 activated coir pith carbon. J Hazard Mater 2006; 135(1-3): 449-52.
  14. Baker FS, Miller CE, Repik AJ, Tolles ED. Activated carbon. In: Kirk-Othmer K, Editor. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, A to Alkaloids. New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 1991. p. 1015-37.
  15. Bakasi S, Biswas S, Mahjan S. Activated carbon from bomboo- technology development toward commercialization. Bamtech 2003; 3: 14-9.
  16. Eaton AD, Greenberg AE. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 1995.
  17. Cheng W, Dastgheib SA, Karanfil T. Adsorption of dissolved natural organic matter by modified activated carbons. Water Res 2005; 39(11): 2281-90.
  18. Ozturk N, Bektas TE. Nitrate removal from aqueous solution by adsorption onto various materials. J Hazard Mater 2004; 112(1-2): 155-62.