Next Article in Journal
Post-Wildfire Debris Flow and Large Woody Debris Transport Modeling from the North Complex Fire to Lake Oroville
Previous Article in Journal
Temporal Changes and Spatial Driving Mechanisms of Water Ecological Footprints in the Context of Urbanization: Taking Three Major Urban Agglomerations in China’s Yangtze River Economic Belt as an Example
Previous Article in Special Issue
Agro-Industrial Waste as Potential Heavy Metal Adsorbents and Subsequent Safe Disposal of Spent Adsorbents
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Sustainable Processes for the Removal of Heavy Metals from Aquatic Systems

Julio Bastos-Arrieta
1,2,* and
Cristina Palet
Departament d’Enginyeria Química i Química Analítica, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Martí i Franquès 1-11, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Institut de Recerca de l’Aigua (IdRA), Universitat de Barcelona (UB), 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Grup de Tècniques de Separació en Química, Unitat Química Analítica, Departament de Química, Facultat de Ciències, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2023, 15(4), 761;
Submission received: 29 January 2023 / Revised: 2 February 2023 / Accepted: 7 February 2023 / Published: 15 February 2023
Water pollution is a global problem threatening the entire biosphere and affecting the life of many millions of people. It is not only one of the foremost global risk factors for illness, diseases and death, but also contributes to the continuous reduction of the available drinkable water sources worldwide. Delivering valuable solutions, which are easy to implement and affordable, often remains a challenge.
Heavy metal ions are some of the most harmful and widespread contaminants, with adverse effects to the environment. These ionic species, mainly cations, are one of many deadly contaminants in ground water across the globe. The physical-chemical properties and composition of the affected waters and sediments present strong spatial variations depending, mainly, on the proximity to the discharge point, and strong seasonal variations are detected depending on the rainfall and temperature regime.
Therefore, the use of environmentally friendly technologies and the reuse or revalorization of all waste generated is a strategy that must be widely assumed. For example, biosorption of heavy metals by metabolically inactive non-living biomass of microbial or plant origin is an innovative and alternative technology for the removal of these pollutants from aquatic systems.
This Special Issue compiled 13 different research works [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13], including 1 review paper [13]. This publication collection covers a wide range of topics related to the enhanced removal of heavy metals during primary treatments in wastewater management including speciation [13], sorption technologies [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,11], complexation [8] and coagulation [12]. The main heavy metals addressed are: Cr(VI) [3,5,12], Cr(III) [2,6,9], Co(II) [11], iron [8], Cu(II) [2,4,7], Ni(II) [1,3], Cd(II) [1,2,6], Pb(II) [2,6] and Zn(II) [1], among others, such as alkaline earth elements [8].
Different materials such as Ni-Al alloy [12], inorganic adsorbents such as silica SBA-15 and titanosilicate ETS-10 [4], biomass [1,2,3,5,11], membranes (i.e., chitosan) [9], nanocellulose [8], ZnO nanoparticles [7], biosynthesized adsorbents (from oyster shells) such as hydroxyapatite [6] and nano modified coffee husk and coffee lignin [2] are presented in this volume. The strategy for their removal varies between direct (bio)adsorption, optimizing parameters such as pH, contact time, adsorption temperature and surface charge density [10]. In two cases, a complementary antibacterial effect is included during the separation process [2,6], which is related to corresponding biomass development. In one case, a strategic safe disposal of the spent adsorbents is presented [1], which is an interesting and novel approach for the sustainability of adsorption processes.
Finally, thanks to all the contributions, this Special Issue demonstrates the feasibility of sustainable materials and processes mainly for heavy metal removal from aqueous wastes.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Simón, D.; Palet, C.; Costas, A.; Cristóbal, A. Agro-Industrial Waste as Potential Heavy Metal Adsorbents and Subsequent Safe Disposal of Spent Adsorbents. Water 2022, 14, 3298. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  2. Guevara-Bernal, D.F.; Ortíz, M.Y.C.; Cifuentes, J.A.G.; Bastos-Arrieta, J.; Palet, C.; Candela, A.M. Coffee Husk and Lignin Revalorization: Modification with Ag Nanoparticles for Heavy Metals Removal and Antifungal Assays. Water 2022, 14, 1796. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  3. Villabona-Ortíz, A.; Tejada-Tovar, C.; González-Delgado, Á.D. Elimination of Chromium (VI) and Nickel (II) Ions in a Packed Column Using Oil Palm Bagasse and Yam Peels. Water 2022, 14, 1240. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  4. Humelnicu, D.; Zinicovscaia, I.; Humelnicu, I.; Ignat, M.; Yushin, N.; Grozdov, D. Study on the SBA-15 Silica and ETS-10 Titanosilicate as Efficient Adsorbents for Cu(II) Removal from Aqueous Solution. Water 2022, 14, 857. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  5. Villabona-Ortíz, A.; González-Delgado, Á.; Tejada-Tovar, C. Equilibrium, Kinetics and Thermodynamics of Chromium (VI) Adsorption on Inert Biomasses of Dioscorea rotundata and Elaeis guineensis. Water 2022, 14, 844. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  6. Jang, S.; Park, K.; Song, S.; Lee, H.; Park, S.; Youn, B.; Park, K. Removal of Various Hazardous Materials Using a Multifunctional Biomass-Derived Hydroxyapatite (HAP) Catalyst and Its Antibacterial Effects. Water 2021, 13, 3302. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  7. Leiva, E.; Tapia, C.; Rodríguez, C. Highly Efficient Removal of Cu(II) Ions from Acidic Aqueous Solution Using ZnO Nanoparticles as Nano-Adsorbents. Water 2021, 13, 2960. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  8. de Jesus Carvalho de Souza, V.; Caraschi, J.C.; Botero, W.G.; de Oliveira, L.C.; Goveia, D. Development of Cotton Linter Nanocellulose for Complexation of Ca, Fe, Mg and Mn in Effluent Organic Matter. Water 2021, 13, 2765. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  9. Zakmout, A.; Sadi, F.; Velizarov, S.; Crespo, J.G.; Portugal, C.A.M. Recovery of Cr(III) from Tannery Effluents by Diafiltration Using Chitosan Modified Membranes. Water 2021, 13, 2598. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  10. Bartzis, V.; Sarris, I.E. Time Evolution Study of the Electric Field Distribution and Charge Density Due to Ion Movement in Salty Water. Water 2021, 13, 2185. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  11. Acosta-Rodríguez, I.; Rodríguez-Pérez, A.; Pacheco-Castillo, N.C.; Enríquez-Domínguez, E.; Cárdenas-González, J.F.; Martínez-Juárez, V.-M. Removal of Cobalt (II) from Waters Contaminated by the Biomass of Eichhornia crassipes. Water 2021, 13, 1725. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  12. Ogata, F.; Nagai, N.; Tabuchi, A.; Toda, M.; Otani, M.; Saenjum, C.; Nakamura, T.; Kawasaki, N. Evaluation of Adsorption Mechanism of Chromium(VI) Ion Using Ni-Al Type and Ni-Al-Zr Type Hydroxides. Water 2021, 13, 551. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  13. Sylwan, I.; Thorin, E. Removal of Heavy Metals during Primary Treatment of Municipal Wastewater and Possibilities of Enhanced Removal: A Review. Water 2021, 13, 1121. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Disclaimer/Publisher’s Note: The statements, opinions and data contained in all publications are solely those of the individual author(s) and contributor(s) and not of MDPI and/or the editor(s). MDPI and/or the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to people or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Bastos-Arrieta, J.; Palet, C. Sustainable Processes for the Removal of Heavy Metals from Aquatic Systems. Water 2023, 15, 761.

AMA Style

Bastos-Arrieta J, Palet C. Sustainable Processes for the Removal of Heavy Metals from Aquatic Systems. Water. 2023; 15(4):761.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bastos-Arrieta, Julio, and Cristina Palet. 2023. "Sustainable Processes for the Removal of Heavy Metals from Aquatic Systems" Water 15, no. 4: 761.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop