This study reports the chemical modification of
the Byrsonima crassifolia
biomass with citric acid to
improve its sorption properties for the removal of cadmium
and nickel ions from aqueous solutions under competitive
sorption conditions (i.e., multicomponent solutions). The
best operating conditions of the chemical modification
process were identified using the signal-to-noise ratio to
enhance the metal uptakes and to reduce the competitive
sorption effects during the simultaneous removal of these
metals using the modified biomass. Results indicated that
both the sorption capacity and selectivity for heavy metal
removal can be improved in multicomponent metal solutions.
This improvement in sorption properties of B.
biomass is mainly related to an increment of the
acidic functional groups on the biomass surface caused by
the chemical reaction between citric acid and this lignocellulosic
material. The methodology reported in this study
can be used to increase the sorption properties of other
biomasses for the effective removal of toxic pollutants
from multicomponent solutions and for the synthesis of
sorbents with tailored sorption properties.