Boron Removal from Aqueous Solutions

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Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 11 (5): 583-588, 2012 ISSN 1990-9233 © IDOSI Publications, 2012 Boron Removal from Aqueous Solutions Using Curcumin-Aided Electrocoagulation 1Azhar Abd Halim, 1Abdul Fattah Abu Bakar, 2Megat Ahmad Kamal Megat Hanafiah and 2Haslizaidi Zakaria 1Environmental Health Programme, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2Department of Chemistry, Universiti Teknologi Mara Pahang, 26400, Jengka, Pahang, Malaysia Abstract: This study seeks to find a new method to enhance the percentage of boron removed from aqueous solution by using the electrocoagulation process in the presence of curcumin. The optimum current density (CD), pH and dose of curcumin were determined as the operational parameters. The results showed that boron removal increased when CD was increased to 6.0 mA/cm2 from 1.0 mA/cm2. In our laboratory-scale reactor, the optimum pH and curcumin dose for the aqueous boron solution before electrocoagulation were 4.0 and 0.05 g, respectively. Electrocoagulation aided by curcumin removed was 20% more boron than the unaided electrocoagulation process. Key words: Electrocoagulation Boron Curcumin INTRODUCTION Boron is normally presents in a very low concentration in soil and irrigation waters. Boron can also be found in industrial products such as fertilizers, insecticides, corrosion inhibitors in anti-freeze formulated for motor vehicle radiators and other cooling systems, pharmaceuticals and dyestuffs. These multiple sources have resulted in high amounts of boron compounds being discharged into the aqueous environment [1,2]. Because of the difficulties encountered in its removal, boron accumulates very rapidly in soils irrigated with wastewaters containing boron. Boron compounds passing into soil through surface and ground water combine and form many complex compounds with heavy metals, such as Pb, Cd, Cu and Ni. These boron compounds are even more toxic than the heavy metals that form them [3]. Boron is an essential element for healthy plants. Boron deficiency in plants may result in their reduced growth, loss of yield and even death, depending on the severity of the deficiency. When boron is deficient, plant stems and root apical meristems often die; root tips often become swollen and discoloured. Leaves will show various symptoms, including drying, thickening, distorting and wilting, in additional to chlorotic and necrotic spotting [4]. Although some plants need a small amount of boron as a nutrient, an excessive amount of boroncanaffectbadlythegrowthofmanyagricultural products. Boron’s tendency to accumulate in vegetable tissues constitutes a potential hazard to the health of animals and humans consuming food and water with a high boron content [6]. In consequence, boron levels in drinking and irrigation waters are regulated. For human health, the World Health Organization (WHO) standard for the maximum boron level in drinking water is 0.3 mg/L [3]. To prevent the environmental problems arising from a high concentration of boron in waters, boron should be removed using one of several suitable methods [6], including precipitation by electrocoagulation and ion exchange [7-10]. Electrocoagulation is a process of creating metallic hydroxide flocks within the water by electrodissolution of the soluble anodes, usually made of iron or aluminium [11]. The difference between electrocoagulation and chemical coagulation is mainly in the way aluminium ions are delivered [12]. In electrocoagulation, coagulation and precipitation are not conducted by delivering chemicals called coagulants to the system, but via electrodes in the reactor [13]. Corresponding Author: Azhar Abd Halim, Environmental Health Programme, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 583

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