A Sustainable Banana Peel Activated Carbon for Removing Pharmaceutical Pollutants from Different Waters : Production, Characterization, and Application

Osamah J. Al-sareji*, Ruqayah Ali Grmasha, Mónika Meiczinger, Raed A. Al-Juboori*, Viola Somogyi, Khalid S. Hashim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Due to the growing concerns about pharmaceutical contamination and its devastating impact on the economy and the health of humans and the environment, developing efficient approaches for removing such contaminants has become essential. Adsorption is a cost-effective technique for removing pollutants. Thus, in this work, banana peels as agro-industrial waste were utilized for synthesizing activated carbon for removing pharmaceuticals, namely amoxicillin and carbamazepine from different water matrices. The chemically activated carbon by phosphoric acid (H3PO4) was carbonized at temperatures 350 °C, 450 °C and 550 °C. The material was characterized by several techniques such as scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Boehm titration, point of zero charge (pHPZC), BET surface area (SBET), the proximate and ultimate analyses, X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), and thermos-gravimetric analysis (TGA). The SEM of banana peel activated carbon (BPAC) depicted a semi-regular and heterogeneous morphology, characterized by an abundance of pores with diverse forms and sizes. Boehm titration revealed an increase in the amounts of acidic groups by 0.711 mmol/g due to activation by H3PO4. FTIR recorded different peaks suggesting significant modifications in the spectroscopic characteristics of the BPAC surface due to the successful activation and adsorption of the pollutant molecules. The pHpzc of BPAC was calculated to be 5.005. The SBET surface area dramatically increased to 911.59 m2/g after the activation. The optimum conditions were 25 °C, a materials dosage of 1.2 g/L, a saturation time of 120 min, a pollutants mixture of 25 mg/L, and a pH of 5. Langmuir exhibits a slightly better fit than Freundlich with a low value of the residual sum of squares (SSE) and the data were better fitted to the pseudo-second-order kinetic. Furthermore, the efficacy of BPAC in eliminating pharmaceuticals from Milli Q water, lake water, and wastewater was successfully investigated over the seven cycles. The results of the present work highlighted a potential usage of agro-industrial waste in eliminating organic micropollutants while exhibiting sustainable management of this waste.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1032
Number of pages25
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • adsorption
  • emerging contaminants
  • organic micropollutants
  • reusability
  • waste
  • water treatment


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