• Marwa Mahdi S. Environmental Engineering Department, College of Engineering, Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad, Iraq Author
  • Lahib Faisal M. Environmental Engineering Department, College of Engineering, Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad, Iraq Author
  • Zainab Al-sharify Environmental Engineering Department, College of Engineering, Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad, Iraq Author https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3870-3815
  • Helen Onyeaka School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TT, Birmingham, United Kingdom Author




Adsorption, Amoxicillin, Ciprofloxacin, Isotherm, Kinetics, Tetracycline, Walnut shell, Wastewater treatment


Adsorption has been demonstrated to be one of the world's most effective wastewater remediation techniques. This study attempts to use walnut shells as an adsorbent for the removal of the medications Amoxicillin, Ciprofloxacin, and Tetracycline from aqueous solutions. Many variables were studied to indicate walnut shells influence on the efficiency of removal; which included pH of the solution (3-9), drugs concentration (10-60 mg/L), adsorbent concentration (0.025–0.25) g/100ml for the walnut shell, contact time (5-120 min), and agitation speed (50-300 rpm). From the experimental results, the best removal at the most suitable pH value of Amoxicillin at pH 6, for Ciprofloxacin was at pH 5 and at pH 4 for the Tetracycline. With an optimum condition, for an amount of adsorbent of about 0.25, and an optimum time of 60 min for all adsorbs using 300 rpm. The best percentage of removal was 59.32% for Amoxicillin, 62.160% for Ciprofloxacin, and 61.55% for Tetracycline when 50 mg/l concentrations of all pharmaceutical solutions. The removal is well integrated into the Freundlich isotherm model. The correlation of kinetic data by a pseudo-second-order model was successful for three antibiotics. However, this study showed that walnut shells are an effective adsorbent in removing medical contaminants from an aqueous solution of the natural environment.


Naidu, R., and Birke, V., 2014, Permeable Reactive Barrier: Sustainable Groundwater Remediation, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL.


Larsson, D. G. J., 2014, Pollution from Drug Manufacturing: Review and Perspectives, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci., Vol. 369, Issue 1656, p. 20130571. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0571

Boxall, A. B. A., 2004, The Environmental Side Effects of Medication: How Are Human and Veterinary Medicines in Soils and Water Bodies Affecting Human and Environmental Health?, EMBO Rep., Vol. 5, Issue 12, pp. 1110–1116. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.embor.7400307

Denchak, M., 2018, Water Pollution: Everything You Need to Know, Our Stories. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv15wxnsd.5

Anand, U., Adelodun, B., Cabreros, C., Kumar, P., Suresh, S., Dey, A., Ballesteros Jr, F., and Bontempi, E., 2022, Occurrence, Transformation, Bioaccumulation, Risk and Analysis of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products from Wastewater: A Review, Environ. Chem. Lett., Vol. 20, Issue 6, pp. 3883–3904. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-022-01498-7

Morales-Paredes, C. A., Rodríguez-Díaz, J. M., and Boluda-Botella, N., 2022, Pharmaceutical Compounds Used in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Review of Their Presence in Water and Treatment Techniques for Their Elimination, Sci. Total Environ., Vol. 814, p. 152691. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152691

Bankole, D. T., Oluyori, A. P., and Inyinbor, A. A., 2023, The Removal of Pharmaceutical Pollutants from Aqueous Solution by Agro-Waste, Arab. J. Chem., Vol. 16,Issue 5, p. 104699. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arabjc.2023.104699

Kang, Z., Jia, X., Zhang, Y., Kang, X., Ge, M., Liu, D., Wang, C., and He, Z., 2022, A Review on Application of Biochar in the Removal of Pharmaceutical Pollutants through Adsorption Persulfate-Based AOPs, Sustainability, Vol. 14, Issue 16, p. 10128. https://doi.org/10.3390/su141610128

Sen, T. K., 2023, Agricultural Solid Wastes Based Adsorbent Materials in the Remediation of Heavy Metal Ions from Water and Wastewater by Adsorption: A Review, Molecules, Vol.28, Issue 14, p. 5575. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28145575

Yaqubi, O., Tai, M. H., Mitra, D., Gerente, C., Neoh, K. G., Wang, C.-H., and Andres, Y., 2021, Adsorptive Removal of Tetracycline and Amoxicillin from Aqueous Solution by Leached Carbon Black Waste and Chitosan-Carbon Composite Beads,” J. Environ. Chem. Eng., Vol. 9, Issue 1, p. 104988. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jece.2020.104988

Ma, M., Lu, Y., Chen, R., Ma, L., and Wang, Y., 2014, Hexavalent Chromium Removal from Water Using Heat-Acid Activated Red Mud, Open J. Appl. Sci., Vol.4 Issue.5 http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=45264.

Ghadim, E. E., Manouchehri, F., Soleimani, G., Hosseini, H., Kimiagar, S., and Nafisi, S., 2013, Adsorption Properties of Tetracycline onto Graphene Oxide: Equilibrium, Kinetic and Thermodynamic Studies, PLoS One, Vol. 8, Issue 11, p. e79254. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0079254

Sharma, P. C., Jain, A., and Jain, S., 2009, Fluoroquinolone Antibacterials: A Review on Chemistry, Microbiology and Therapeutic Prospects, Acta Pol Pharm, Vol. 66, Issue 6, pp. 587–604.

Harmayani, K. D., 2012, Adsorption of Nutrients from Stormwater Using Sawdust, Int. J. Environ. Sci. Dev. Vol. 3 , Issue 2: pp. 114-117. http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11937/49122

Junior, O. P., Cazetta, A. L., Gomes, R. C., Barizão, É. O., Souza, I. P. A. F., Martins, A. C., Asefa, T., and Almeida, V. C., 2014, Synthesis of ZnCl2-Activated Carbon from Macadamia Nut Endocarp (Macadamia Integrifolia) by Microwave-Assisted Pyrolysis: Optimization Using RSM and Methylene Blue Adsorption, J. Anal. Appl. Pyrolysis, Vol.105, pp. 166–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaap.2013.10.015

Ayalew, A. A., 2023, Comparative Adsorptive Performance of Adsorbents Developed from Kaolin Clay and Limestone for De-Fluoridation of Groundwater, South African J. Chem. Eng., Vol.44, Issue 1, pp. 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sajce.2022.11.002

Mullassery, M. D., Fernandez, N. B., and Anirudhan, T. S., 2015, Adsorptive Removal of Acid Red from Aqueous Solutions by Cationic Surfactant-Modified Bentonite Clay, Desalin. Water Treat., Vol. 56, Issue 7, pp. 1929–1939. https://doi.org/10.1080/19443994.2014.958110

Huang, Z., Li, Y., Chen, W., Shi, J., Zhang, N., Wang, X., Li, Z., Gao, L., and Zhang, Y., 2017, Modified Bentonite Adsorption of Organic Pollutants of Dye Wastewater, Mater. Chem. Phys., Vol. 202, pp. 266–276. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matchemphys.2017.09.028

Vickers, N. J., 2017, Animal Communication: When i’m Calling You, Will You Answer Too?, Curr. Biol., Vol.27, Issue 14, pp. R713–R715. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.05.064

Shang, Z., Hu, Z., Huang, L., Guo, Z., Liu, H., and Zhang, C., 2020, Removal of Amoxicillin from Aqueous Solution by Zinc Acetate Modified Activated Carbon Derived from Reed, Powder Technol., Vol. 368, pp. 178–189. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.powtec.2020.04.055

El Qada, E. N., Allen, S. J., and Walker, G. M., 2006, Adsorption of Basic Dyes onto Activated Carbon Using Microcolumns, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., Vol. 45, Issue 17, pp. 6044–6049. https://doi.org/10.1021/ie060289e

Li, Y., Du, Q., Wang, X., Zhang, P., Wang, D., Wang, Z., and Xia, Y., 2010, Removal of Lead from Aqueous Solution by Activated Carbon Prepared from Enteromorpha Prolifera by Zinc Chloride Activation, J. Hazard. Mater., Vol. 183, Issue (1–3), pp. 583–589. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.07.063

Yu, B., Zhang, Y., Shukla, A., Shukla, S. S., and Dorris, K. L., 2001, The Removal of Heavy Metals from Aqueous Solutions by Sawdust Adsorption—Removal of Lead and Comparison of Its Adsorption with Copper, J. Hazard. Mater., Vol. 84, Issue 1, pp. 83–94. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0304-3894(01)00198-4

Mukoko, T., Mupa, M., Guyo, U., and Dziike, F., 2015, Preparation of Rice Hull Activated Carbon for the Removal of Selected Pharmaceutical Waste Compounds in Hospital Effluent. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-014-2148-x

Wirasnita, R., Hadibarata, T., Yusoff, A. R. M., and Yusop, Z., 2014, Removal of Bisphenol A from Aqueous Solution by Activated Carbon Derived from Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunch, Water, Air, Soil Pollut., Vol. 225, Issue 10, pp. 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-014-2148-x

Weng, C.-H., Lin, Y.-T., and Tzeng, T.-W., 2009, Removal of Methylene Blue from Aqueous Solution by Adsorption onto Pineapple Leaf Powder, J. Hazard. Mater., Vol. 170, Issue 1, pp. 417–424. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.04.080

Zahoor, M., 2011, Effect of Agitation Speed on Adsorption of Imidacloprid on Activated Carbon, J. Chem. Soc. Pakistan, Vol. 33, Issue 6, p. 305.

Sevgi, L., 2007, Groundwave Modeling and Simulation Strategies and Path Loss Prediction Virtual Tools, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., Vol.n55, Issue 6, pp. 1591–1598. https://doi.org/10.1109/tap.2007.897256

Pehlivan, E., and Altun, T., 2006, The Study of Various Parameters Affecting the Ion Exchange of Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+, Cd2+, and Pb2+ from Aqueous Solution on Dowex 50W Synthetic Resin, J. Hazard. Mater., Vol. 134, Issue 1–3, pp. 149–156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2005.10.052

Lucas, S., Cocero, M. J., Zetzl, C., and Brunner, G., 2004, Adsorption Isotherms for Ethylacetate and Furfural on Activated Carbon from Supercritical Carbon Dioxide, Fluid Phase Equilib., Vol. 219, Issue 2, pp. 171–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fluid.2004.01.034

Yasemin, B., and Zubeyde, B., 2006, Removal of Pb (II) from Wastewater Using Wheat Bran, Env. Manag., Vol. 78, pp. 107–113.

Huang, Y., Li, S., Chen, J., Zhang, X., and Chen, Y., 2014, Adsorption of Pb (II) on Mesoporous Activated Carbons Fabricated from Water Hyacinth Using H3PO4 Activation: Adsorption Capacity, Kinetic and Isotherm Studies, Appl. Surf. Sci., Vol.293, pp. 160–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2013.12.123

Rao, M. M., Ramana, D. K., Seshaiah, K., Wang, M. C., and Chien, S. W. C., 2009, Removal of Some Metal Ions by Activated Carbon Prepared from Phaseolus Aureus Hulls, J. Hazard. Mater., Vol.166, Issue (2–3), pp. 1006–1013. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2008.12.002

Yuh-Shan, H., 2004, Citation Review of Lagergren Kinetic Rate Equation on Adsorption Reactions, Scientometrics, Vol. 59, Issue 1, pp. 171–177. https://doi.org/10.1023/b:scie.0000013305.99473.cf

Liu, W., Zhang, J., Zhang, C., and Ren, L., 2011, Sorption of Norfloxacin by Lotus Stalk-Based Activated Carbon and Iron-Doped Activated Alumina: Mechanisms, Isotherms and Kinetics, Chem. Eng. J., Vol. 171, Issue 2, pp. 431–438. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2011.03.099

Abbas, A. S., Ahmed, M. J., and Darweesh, T. M., 2016, Adsorption of Fluoroquinolones Antibiotics on Activated Carbon by K2CO3 with Microwave Assisted Activation, Iraqi J. Chem. Pet. Eng., Vol.17, Issue 2, pp. 15–23. https://doi.org/10.31699/ijcpe.2016.2.3

Faisal, M. L., Al-Najjar, S. Z., & Al-Sharify, Z. T. (2020). Modified orange peel as sorbent in removing of heavy metals from aqueous solution. J Green Eng, Vol. 10, Issue 11, 10600-10615.‏

Al-Sharify, Z.T., Faisal, L.M.A., Al-Sharif, T.A., Al-Sharify, N.T., Faisal, F.M.A. (2018) Removal of analgesic paracetamol from wastewater using dried olive stone International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, Vol.9 , Issue 13, pp. 293-299. http://www.iaeme.com/ijmet/issues.asp?JType=IJMET&VType=9&IType=13

Almhana, N.M., Ali, S.A.K., Al-Najjar, S.Z., Al-Sharify, Z.T. Assessment of cobalt ions removal in synthetic wastewater using broad bean peels (2020) Journal of Green Engineering, Vol.10 , Issue 11, pp. 10157-10173.

Al-Qaisi, M. Q., Faisal, L., Al-Sharify, Z. T., & Al-Sharify, T. A. (2018). Possibility of utilizing from lemon peel as a sorbent in removing of contaminant such as copper ions from simulated aqueous solution. International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology, Vol. 9, Issue 11, 571-579.‏

Abdul Razak, Z., Rushdi, S., Gadhban, M. Y., Al-Najjar, S. Z., & Al-Sharify, Z. T. (2020). Possibility of utilizing the lemon peels in removing of red reactive (RR) dye from simulated aqueous solution. Journal of Green Engineering, Vol. 10, 7343-7359.‏

Lahieb, F. M., Al-Sharify, Z. T., & Farah, F. M. (2020, June). Role of rice husk as natural sorbent in paracetamol sorption equilibrium and kinetics. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering Vol. 870, Issue 1, p. 012053). IOP Publishing.‏

Ibrahim ِ. K., Ahmed, S. H., & Abduljabbar, R. A. (2023). Removal of Methylene Blue Dye from Aqueous Solutions Using Cordia Myxa Fruits as a Low-Cost Adsorbent. Tikrit Journal of Engineering Sciences, Vol.30, Issue 3, pp 90–99. https://doi.org/10.25130/tjes.30.3.10

Fat’hi, A. M., & Ali, A. H. (2022). Effect of adsorption conditions on the removal of lead (II) using sewage sludge as adsorbent material. J Eng Sustain Dev, Vol. 26, Issue 1-9.‏

Rushdi, S., Hameed, K. K., Janna, H., & Al-Sharify, Z. T. (2020). Investigation on production of sustainable activated carbon from walnuts shell to be used in protection from COVID-19 disease. Journal of Green Engineering, Vol. 10, Issue 10, 7517-7526.‏

Alyasiri, H., Rushdi, S., & Al-Sharify, Z. T. Recent advances in the application of activated carbon for the removal of pharmaceutical contaminants from wastewater: A review. AIP Conference Proceedings 14 July 2023; Vol.2787 Issue 1: 040027. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0150157

Ghosh, S., Falyouna, O., Onyeaka, H., Malloum, A., Bornman, C., AlKafaas, S. S., Al-Sharify Z. T., Ahmadi S., Dehghani M. H., Mahvi A. H., Nasseri S., Tyagi I., Mousazadeh M., Koduru J. R., Khan, A. H., Suhas (2023). Recent progress on the remediation of metronidazole antibiotic as emerging contaminant from water environments using sustainable adsorbents: A review. Journal of Water Process Engineering, Vol. 51, Issue 103405.‏ https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwpe.2022.103405.


Key Dates



How to Cite

WALNUT SHELLS AS SUSTAINABLE ADSORBENT FOR THE REMOVAL OF MEDICAL WASTE FROM WASTEWATER . (2023). Journal of Engineering and Sustainable Development, 27(6), 698-712. https://doi.org/10.31272/jeasd.27.6.3

Similar Articles

1-10 of 131

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.