Summary: The monodisperse chitosan-conjugated Fe3O4 nanoparticles with a mean diameter of 13.5 nm were fabricated by the carboxymethylation of chitosan and its covalent binding onto Fe3O4 nanoparticles via carbodiimide activation. The carboxymethylated chitosan (CMCH)-conjugated Fe3O4 nanoparticles with about 4.92 wt.-% of CMCH had an isoelectric point of 5.95 and were shown to be quite efficient as anionic magnetic nano-adsorbent for the removal of acid dyes. Both the adsorption capacities of crocein orange G (AO12) and acid green 25 (AG25), as the model compounds, decreased with increasing pH, and the decreasing effect was more significant for AO12. On the contrary, the increase in the ionic strength decreased the adsorption capacity of AG25 but did not affect, obviously, the adsorption capacity of AO12. By the addition of NaCl and NaOH, both AO12 and AG25 could desorb and their different desorption behavior could be attributed to the combined effect of pH and ionic strength. From the adsorption kinetics and thermodynamics studies, it was found that both the adsorption processes of AO12 and AG25 obeyed the pseudo-second-order kinetic model, Langmuir isotherm, and might be surface reaction-controlled. Furthermore, the time required to reach the equilibrium for each one was significantly shorter than those using the micro-sized adsorbents due to the large available surface area. Also, based on the weight of chitosan, the maximum adsorption capacities were 1 883 and 1 471 mg · g−1 for AO12 and AG25, respectively, much higher than the reported data. Thus, the anionic magnetic nano-adsorbent could not only be magnetically manipulated but also possessed the advantages of fast adsorption rate and high adsorption capacity. This could be useful in the fields of separation and magnetic carriers.
Acid dyes adsorption onto the CMCH-conjugated Fe3O4 nanoparticles.