• alginate;
  • chitosan;
  • activated carbon;
  • adsorption;
  • heavy metals;
  • mercury;
  • adsorbent


A novel composite carbon adsorbent (GCA) has been prepared by immobilizing activated carbon and genipin-crosslinked chitosan into calcium alginate gel beads via entrapment and applied to the removal of mercury (Hg2+) ions from aqueous solution (e.g., drinking water). Two bead sizes and two mixing ratios of components were obtained and characterized. Batch experiments were performed to study the uptake equilibrium and kinetics of Hg2+ ions by the GCA. The Hg2+ adsorption capacity of GCA was found to be dependent of pH and independent of size of the adsorbent. The Hg2+ adsorption rate of GCA increases with decreasing its bead size. However, both adsorption capacity and rate of GCA for Hg2+ increase with increasing its chitosan content. Otherwise, it was shown that the GCA has higher Hg2+ adsorption capacity and rate than activated carbon, which might be caused by the incorporation of chitosan into the GCA. The maximum Hg2+ adsorption capacity of GCA was found to be 576 mg/g, which is over seven times higher than that of activated carbon. Our results reveal the uniform distribution of activated carbon and chitosan within the alginate gel bead and that Hg2+ ions can diffuse inside the bead. It also demonstrated the feasibility of using this GCA for Hg2+ removal at low pH values. The Hg2+ absorbed beads of the GCA can be effectively regenerated and reused using H2SO4. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009