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Adsorption Of Lead By Nipa Fruticans

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In this chapter, theoretical topics and related studies are discussed. The first part includes all the necessary information that covers the totality of the study. The second part includes the related literature which includes the present and available studies that have parallel objectives of this study; moreover, such related literature are being used as a credible foundation to the processes and procedures being utilized in this study.

Theoretical Background

Nypa Fruticans

The Nypa fruticans, more commonly known as the nipa palm, is a palm species found in upstream, estuarine zones in low, mid, and high intertidal regions. It is a very fast growing and competitive species that forms lengthy belts along saline to tidal freshwater rivers and creeks. The Nypafruticans is native to mangrove estuarine and coastal areas flowing to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from Bangladesh to the Pacific Islands (Ellison J. , 2010). It lacks an upright stem, with tall erect fronds and an underground rhizomatous stem. Its trunk grows beneath the ground, it develops female flowers in groups or clusters known as inflorescences at 1 meter in height and male flowers in red or yellow on the lower branches, and leaves usually extend to about 9 meters (Farid Hossain, 2015).

The Nypa fruticans is one of the most important crops in the Philippines, especially in the country’s economy. The usage of nipa palm can be dated all the way back to the 16th century in terms of housing, agriculture, the manufacturing industry, and even in medicine. The sap of the Nypa fruticans has been famously known to have a very high sugar-rich sap yield. In fact, it can yield up to 8,480 to 15,000 liters per day of ethanol/butanol per hectare (Hai, 2014). The long, pennate leaves of the plant have been used to create the roofs of the “bahay kubo”, the fabrication of the thatching panels locally known as “pawid” or “atap” has been used to manufacture household products such as brooms, baskets, hats, and even sunhats. In terms of medicinal use, the stem and leaves of the Nypa fruticans has been known to exhibit antidiabetic properties, lowering glucose levels (Reza, 2009). Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of midveins, leaves and husks of the Nypa fruticans also showed antimicrobial effects on various species of bacteria (Ebana R. , 2015). Other parts of the palm such as young shoots, decayed wood, and the burned roots and leaves can also be used as medicinal remedies for the treatment of toothaches, headaches, and herpes (Farid Hossain, 2015). It is a known fact that the Nypa fruticans exhibits properties that make it a very beneficial plant in several areas of use and proves to be a very important resource in the tropical Indo-West Pacific region.

Heavy Pollution in the Butuanon RiverA. Butuanon River

The Butuanon river is a 23-kilometer water body which stretches from the mountain area around Metro Cebu and eventually discharges into Mactan channel with approximately 10 kilometers of the river crossing the city of Mandaue (Wenceslao B. , 2017). Serving a great purpose in Cebu City as one of the most important rivers in the city, it has infamously been known to also be extremely polluted and contaminated. This has greatly been attributed to the widespread industrial activity around the area, as the river stretches across the heavily industrialized and densely populated areas of Mandaue City, making it a popular receptacle for their wastes. This is specifically due to factories and establishments specialized in food processing, industrial gas manufacturing, seaweed production and metalwork/foundry (Nazareno, 1999) and the informal settlers who contribute to water pollution by throwing their garbage in the river (Yap, 2014) Because of rapid urbanization, the river has been turned into a site of garbage and wastewater made possible by the citizens of Cebu. This has become a very crucial problem for several years now especially because Metro Cebu has experienced shortage of freshwater and health concerns related to water quality (Bongo, 1998). The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has also dubbed the river as “one of the worst in the country” due to its decades-long pollution (Awit, 2015). Because of this, the DENR has made efforts to rehabilitate the river and reconcile it to its former beauty. In 2014 the DENR has declared the Butuanon River a “water quality management area” or WQMA in order to push the local government officials to implement measures and arrange its rehabilitation (Yap, 2014). B. Health Effects due to the Consumption of Lead

Lead is a very strong poison and a highly toxic metal when consumed. Lead consumption leads to lead poisoning which is a very serious condition that can be fatal. Lead consumption can affect many body systems and may spread to the brain, liver, kidney, and bones as it is a cumulative toxicant. It accumulates and is stored in the one’s bones and teeth over time. By assessing the amount of lead in the blood, one can see the degree of exposure an individual has had to lead. Lead poisoning is does not usually have an immediate effect but instead occurs over a period of months or even years. It is extremely dangerous as it can cause severe mental and physical damages and impairment especially in young children who are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead. Children can suffer in aspects wherein the lead affects the development of the brain and nervous system of the child which usually leads to permanent, profound, and adverse health effects. This does not mean that adults are less susceptible to the detrimental effects of lead as lead also causes increased risk of high blood pressure and damage to the kidneys which inevitably causes long term damage to an adult’s health. Exposure of pregnant women to high levels of lead can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight. There is no known safe blood lead concentration. But it is known that, as lead exposure increases, the range and severity of symptoms and effects also increases. Even blood lead concentrations as low as 5 µg/dL, once thought to be a “safe level”, may be associated with decreased intelligence in children, behavioral difficulties, and learning problems.


The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) defines adsorption as “Increase in the concentration of a substance at the interface of a condensed and a liquid or gaseous layer owing to the operation of surface forces” (Anonymous, 1987) It is the adhesion or deposition of a chemical species, which is known as the adsorbate, onto the surface of particles, the adsorbent. It is a surface phenomenon as it occurs on the surface of particles, and the removal of the adsorbate by the adsorbent is known as desorption (Anonymous, 2016). Adsorption is also an exothermic process. The amount of heat that is evolved as a result of one mole of the adsorbate being adsorbed on adsorbent is known as enthalpy of adsorption. This restricts the freedom of the movement of molecules and there is an decrease in entropy. Because adsorption happens at constant temperature and pressure, it is a spontaneous process and Gibb’s free energy decreases (Anonymous, 2016). Adsorption can be classified into two types: physical adsorption and chemical adsorption. Physical adsorption, also known as physisorption or Vander Waal’s adsorption, involves the attraction of adsorbate and adsorbent via weak Vander Waal’s forces. It is promoted by low temperature and it can easily be reversed by decreasing the pressure or by heating (Ravindhranath K. , 2014).

On the other hand, chemical adsorption, also known as chemisorption or Langmuir adsorption, occurs when the force of attraction between the adsorbate and adsorbent is made possible by chemical bonds. Chemical adsorption is irreversible because the force of attraction is very strong, and it is an exothermic process that is accompanied by increased temperature and high pressure (Ravindhranath K. , 2014). Common examples of adsorbents include: silica gel, activated carbon or charcoal, zeolites, adsorption chillers used in refrigerators, and biomaterials that adsorb proteins (Kaufmann J. , 2010). Plants are also known to be effective examples of adsorbents. According to a study made in the Koneru Lakshmaiah Education Foundation in India (Ravindhranath K. , 2014) Phyllanthus Neruri, Moringa Tinctoria, Tridox Procumbens and Ficus religiosa plants are found to exhibit sorption properties as they were effectively able to adsorb Methylene Blue dye using simulated polluted waters. Furthermore, it has been studied that Nature sorb and Sphagnum Dill, examples of natural adsorbents of plant origin, have abilities to clean up water surfaces by adsorbing different hydrocarbons (Olga, 2015).

Related Studies

Copper, Lead and Zinc Concentration in Water, Sediments and Catfish (Clarias macrocephalus Gunther) from Butuanon River, Metro Cebu, Philippines ( Oquiñena-Paler & Ancog, 2014)

In a study by Oquiñena-Paler & Ancog (2014), copper, lead, and zinc metals were found in the waters of the Butuanon River, Metro Cebu, Philippines in concentration levels that did not exceed the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative (DAO) 34 Series of 1990 standard. This study also aimed to test the levels of the metals present in the catfish C. macrocephalus that was found downstream to provide implications towards the detrimental effects in consuming these fish with metals in their tissues. The study found that the lead concentrations in C. macrocephalus from the downstream station exceeded Europe’s Maximum Allowable Limit in fishes set at 2ppm. All the metals were concentrated in the organs of C. macrocephalus in the order of liver>gills>muscle.

Other Studies on Nypa Palm (Nypa fruticans) as an Adsobent to Uptake Heavy Metals

A. Nypa Fruticans as a Potential Low-Cost Adsorbent to Uptake Heavy Metals from Industrial Wastewater (Ali, et al. , 2016)

In a study by Ali et al. , (2016), Nypa fruticans sourced from Khulna in Bangladesh were used as an adsorbent to be a potential low-cost solution in removing heavy metals from an aqueous solution. The metal that was tested as an adsorbate was Chromium (VI). After a series of batch testes were conducted and the influence of initial metal ion concentration, contact time, pH of the solution and adsorbent dosage was investigated, the Nypa fruticans adsorbent was found to be an efficient and effective low-cost solution in removing heavy metals associated to be present in industrial wastewater. This study provides the background that Nypa fruticans have the ability to be a capable adsorbent in removing heavy metals after being characterized by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) which confirmed that it has the ability and mechanism to retain heavy metals. B. Sorption kinetics of Pb2+ and Cu2+ ions from aqueous solution by Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans Wurmb) shoot biomass (Wankasi, Horsfall Jnr. , & Spiff, 2006)

The study by Wankasi and Spiff (2006) tested the use of the unmodified and mercaptoacetic acid modified biomass of Nypa fruticans shoot in the sorption kinetics of Lead and Copper ions in an aqueous solution. The study showed that the modified and unmodified biomass of Nypa fruticans had relatively rapid sorption of 5-10 minutes to reach equilibrium for both metal ions. The results of the study found that sorption of Lead and Copper onto the mercaptoacetic modified and unmodified Nipah palm biomass was found favourable. Thus, the study finds that Nipah palm biomass is relatively effective and environment friendly in removing and recovering heavy metal ions from an aqueous solution. C. Biosorption of Lead (II) onto soda lignin gels extracted from Nypa fruiticans (Ogunsile & Bamgboye, 2017)

A study conducted by Ogunsile and Bamgboye (2017) tested for the potential utilization of lignin gels (soda lignin and sulfonated resinified soda lignin) extracted from Nypa fruticans as an adsorbent for the removal of `metals from waste water. The study used biosorption experiments to carry out the removal of Lead from an aqueous solution. The results showed that the sorption process was most optimum at pH of 4 and 6, corresponding to a maximum adsorption of 94. 24 and 96. 34 % for the unmodified lignin (UL), and sulfonated resinified lignin (SRL), respectively. The adsorption process was found to be endothermic and spontaneous. The results of the study showed that sulfonated lignin approaches equilibrium faster and would likely be able to efficiently remove more Lead from the aqueous solution than the unmodified lignin.

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