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A PRELIMINARY EVALUATION OF ALOE VERA RIND AS NATURAL COAGULANT FOR WATER TREATMENT

Authors:

Abstract

Aloe vera is a species of Aloe, native to northern Africa. It is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant. Aloe vera is now widely used in cosmetic and alternative medicine industries. In this study, the coagulation performance of rind from Aloe vera was investigated for the first time. Rind of A. vera was evaluated for turbidity removal from synthetic turbid water samples by using jar test. A. vera rind coagulant was extracted with different concentration of sodium chloride (AvC-SC) from ground rind shows high turbidity removal up to 90%. The effects of coagulant concentration, pH and initial turbidity on coagulation performance were also investigated. The results showed the combination of AvC-SC and alum significantly increased the removal of turbidity and water with 7.7 NTU could produce from 204 NTU of synthetic turbid water. Thus, AvC-SC could be used effectively as aid to alum as well as reduce cost of treatment and use of alum by about 50%. This readily available rind from A. vera plant may offer an appropriate solution for producing potable water in some developing countries.
A PRELIMINARY EVALUATION OF ALOE VERA
RIND AS NATURAL COAGULANT FOR WATER
TREATMENT
Azni Idris, Ahmad H. Rajab, Nur nasimi Abdullatif, B.S.U Ibn-Abubakar
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University Putra Malaysia, Sri Serdang, 43400,
Selangor, Malaysia
ABSTRACT
Aloe vera is a species of Aloe, native to northern Africa. It is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant.
Aloe vera is now widely used in cosmetic and alternative medicine industries. In this study, the coagulation
performance of rind from Aloe vera was investigated for the first time. Rind of A. vera was evaluated for
turbidity removal from synthetic turbid water samples by using jar test. A. vera rind coagulant was extracted
with different concentration of sodium chloride (AvC-SC) from ground rind shows high turbidity removal up to
90%. The effects of coagulant concentration, pH and initial turbidity on coagulation performance were also
investigated. The results showed the combination of AvC-SC and alum significantly increased the removal of
turbidity and water with 7.7 NTU could produce from 204 NTU of synthetic turbid water. Thus, AvC-SC could
be used effectively as aid to alum as well as reduce cost of treatment and use of alum by about 50%. This
readily available rind from A. vera plant may offer an appropriate solution for producing potable water in some
developing countries.
KEYWORDS
Aloe vera, Turbidity removal, Natural coagulant, Water treatment, Coagulation.
1 INTRODUCTION
Water quality is very important to measure and secure our daily routines and commercial activities. It is
excruciatingly essential to have access to clean water supply thus, in order to meet the demand of clean water
supply, researchers, governments and public has given a lot of attention to water treatment process.
The best immediate option in treating water is to use simple and relatively cost effective technology such as
coagulation and flocculation process. Coagulation is a common process in water treatment for destabilizing
colloid impurities and producing large floc aggregates which can be removed from the water in subsequent
clarification / filtration process. Conventional chemical-based coagulant commonly used, can be classified into
inorganic coagulant namely aluminium chloride, Ferric chloride, polyaluminium chloride (PAC) (Philips et al.,
2003; Renault et al., 2009) and synthetic organic polymers such as polyacrylamide (PAM) (Li et al., 2006;
Šćiban, 2009). However, the most widely practiced in water treatment all over the world is aluminum salts
because it is cheaper. The effectiveness of these chemicals as coagulant is well recognized. Disadvantages
associated with the usage of these coagulants are such as produce large Aluminium sludge volumes, affect the
pH of the treated water, bring detrimental effect to human health and can develop Alzheimer disease in human
being (Madrona et al., 2010; Sanghi et al., 2002). Therefore, it is desirable to replace or minimize the usage of
Aluminium salts (Alum) by developing the alternative natural or plant-based coagulants to counteract the
undesirable chemical sludge from water treatment process.
Natural coagulant has many advantages compared to Alum. Natural coagulant is biodegradable, mostly has
natural pH and can significantly reduce the cost of water treatment (Pritchard et al., 2009; Santos et al., 2009).
Aloe vera is a plant that has potential to be used in the water treatment because its characteristic is quite similar
to cactus which has proven as good coagulant. Aloe is a genus of succulent plants, meaning that it exhibits a
high rate of water retention. There are some 400 species of Aloe worldwide. The genus Aloe belongs to the
family Liliaceae, including the species Aloe barbadensis Miller, commercially known as ‘‘Aloe vera’’ (Vega et
al., 2007). This specie is believed to originate in northern Africa; like other species, nevertheless, it lacks a
definitive area of origin, given the wide geographic range in which the plant can grow and thrive. Nowadays,
Aloe vera also can be found in Asia pacific. Aloe vera plant is widely used in food, cosmetic and alternative
medicine industries.
In this study the coagulation performance of Aloe vera rind as natural coagulant in water treatment been
investigated. Determine the effect of salt concentration on natural coagulant extraction, the effects of coagulant
concentration, pH and initial turbidity on coagulation performance were also investigated as well as the
application of AvC-SC in river water treatment.
2 METHODS
2.1 EXTRACTION OF COAGULANT AVC-SC
Harvested Aloe vera leaf was washed and cleaned then rind was removed from the leaf and cut to the size of 2
cm and 5g of the dried Aloe vera rind was grinded and added into 100 mL of 0.5M Sodium Chloride. The
suspension was mixed well for 30 minutes and filtered. The filtrate was ready to be used as coagulant stock
(AvC-SC).
2.2 EXPERIMENTAL SET-UP
Synthetic turbid water was prepared with different kaolin clay concentration and deionized water to provide
turbidity of 50–500NTU and pH was adjusted to 4 by 1 M of NaOH and HCl. Jar test analysis (JLT6, VELP
SCIENTIFICA, Italy) was being conducted in order to find the optimum pH and to determine the optimum
dosage of coagulant to function effectively in treating water. Synthetic turbid water samples (200 ml) were
stirred at 100 rpm for 3 min and coagulants were added into the samples during this time. Then the samples
were stirred at 30 rpm for 30 min. After the mixing, the samples would stand for 30 min and then the turbidity
of the supernatant liquors was measured by a turbidity meter (2100N, HACH, USA).
3 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
3.1 EFFECT OF
SODIUM CHLORIDE
CONCENTRATION ON NATURAL COAGULANT
(
AvC-SC
) EXTRACTION
Fig. 1 showed the effect of different concentration of Sodium chloride solution on AvC-SC extraction. Sodium
chloride was prepared with different concentrations of 0.05 to 3 M as extraction solution, used to determine the
highest extraction of active agent coagulant (AvC-SC) from Aloe vera rind. In general, AvC-SC extracted by
different concentrations of sodium chloride was able remove more than 75% of turbidity from synthetic turbid
water with initial 400 NTU at pH 4. The lowest turbidity removal it was recorded when 0.05 M of sodium
chloride was used to extract the active agent of AvC-SC. Because the lowest removal of turbidity, means the
lowest concentration of active agent extracted (AvC-SC) by sodium chloride. The AvC-SC extraction increased
slightly as the sodium chloride increased and the highest extraction was by 1.5 M as the final turbidity was 38.5
NTU. Beyond this concentration of salt the turbidity removal decreased which shows sodium chloride with
concentration higher than 1.5M reduced or effected the extraction of AvC-SC, thus 1.5 M of sodium chloride
was chosen for the next experiments.
3.2 EFFECT OF AvC-SC CONCENTRATION ON TURBIDITY REMOVAL
Different concentrations of Aloe vera rind were used to prepare AvC-SC coagulant solution to study the effect of
coagulant dosage on turbidity removal (Fig. 2). Study showed the turbidity removal increased as the AvC-SC
coagulant increased. Aloe vera rind 375 mg/L reduced the turbidity of synthetic turbid water from 208 to 37.4
NTU. Further increasing in Aloe vera rind concentration (overdosage) decreased the turbidity removal
(Ndabigengesere et al., 1995). Study shows the concentration of AvC-SC used in this experiment was quite high
in comparison with concentration of common chemical coagulant used in water treatment. Therefore, for better
understanding of AvC-SC coagulant, more study in the future need to be done in AvC-SC active agent
purification, chemical composition and zeta potential.
3.3 EFFECT OF pH ON TURBIDITY REMOVAL
Fig. 3 showed the effect of pH on AvC-SC coagulation performance. Synthetic turbid water with different pH 4
to 9 were used to study the effect of pH on coagulation process. Results showed the AvC-SC perform highly at
acidic pH than neutral, final turbidity with 46.9 NTU could be obtained from initial turbid of 207 NTU at pH 4.
While 50% was the lowest turbidity removal recorded by AvC-SC at pH 9. Generally, the coagulation efficiency
of AvC-SC was increased as the pH decreased. That because the low pH of kaolin suspension (acidic condition)
has more positive H
+
ion, which help to neutralize the negative charges of kaolin particles and influenced flocs
formation. AvC-SC could be an alternative natural coagulant use to remove Alizarin Violet 3R dye and acid dyes
from aqueous solutions as the highest removal of these dyes could be achieved at acidic pH 4 (Beltrán-Heredia
et al., 2011; Zonoozi et al., 2011).
3.4 EFFECT OF INITIAL KAOLIN CONCENTRATION ON TURBIDITY REMOVAL
The study investigated the effect of kaolin particles concentration on AvC-SC coagulation efficiency (Fig. 4).
Experiments showed the turbidity removal was increased as the initial turbidity increased (Katayon et al., 2006;
Nkurunziza et al., 2009). The results showed that turbidity removal influenced by the initial turbidity as the
highest turbidity removal was 92% when the initial turbidity 400 NTU and the lowest was 51.4% when the
initial turbidity 50 NTU.
3.5
EFFECT OF MIXED COAGULANT (
AVC-SC
WITH ALUM) CONCENTRATION ON
TURBIDITY REMOVAL
However, the AvC-SC showed a good turbidity removal, but couldn’t reduce the turbidity of water to lower than
5 NTU (drinkable water) and no significant results were recorded at neutral pH. Therefore the study investigated
the effect of mixed coagulant (AvC-SC + alum), mixing ratio 1:1, used to treat turbid water with initial turbidity
204 NTU at pH6 (Fig. 5). Experiments showed the turbidity removal was increased dramatically and final
turbidity close to 5 NTU could be obtained as the mixed coagulant dosage reached to 20 gm/L, then removal of
turbidity decreased slightly as the mixed coagulant increased (over dosage). The same phenomena was observed
when mixed coagulant cactus with AlCl
3
·6H
2
O recorded highest turbidity removal than cactus only
(Zhang et al.,
2006).
Thus, AvC-SC could be used effectively as aid to alum as well as reduce cost of treatment and use of alum
by about 50%.
3.6 EFFECT OF pH ON WATER TREATED BY MIXED COAGULANT
The effect of pH on coagulation using mixed coagulant 20mg/L to treat synthetic turbid water with initial
turbidity 203 NTU was investigated. Fig. 6 showed the mixed coagulant was quite efficient and turbidity of 7.5
NTU could be produced at pH 6. However, mixed coagulant showed insignificant removal of turbidity at pH
range 3 to 5 and pH 8. This result shows mixed coagulant could be potential coagulant that can used in real
water treatment plants.
3.7 COAGULATION EFFECT OF MIXED COAGULANT ON RIVER WATER
Sample of river water was taken from Sungai Langat at the Latitude of 2°57'56.90"N and Longitude
101°47'8.33"E, Selangor, Malaysia. The initial turbidity was 110 NTU, TSS 240 mg/L, COD 70 mg/L and pH
6.3. Table 1 showed three coagulants were used to treat river water. The results were that the maximum
turbidity removal was 96.1 % (final 4.3 NTU) recorded by alum then mixed coagulant was able to produce
water with low turbidity close to that produced by alum. While AvC-SC showed insignificant removal of
turbidity of 78.6 %. The final total suspended solids of river water treated by alum, mixed coagulant and AvC-
SC were 25, 45 and 65 mg/L, respectively. In addition, the study was investigated the reduction of COD by
these coagulants and results showed the final COD were 10, 20 and 40 mg/L of water treated by alum, mixed
coagulant and AvC-SC, respectively. In general, results showed the mixed coagulant was able to treat the river
water efficiently and cost effectively.
Table 1:Different types of coagulants used to treat river water
Coagulant Final Turbidity
NTU
Turbidity
Removal % TSS (mg/L) COD (mg/L)
Alum 4.30 96.1 25.0 10.0
Mixed coagulant (AvC-SC
+ alum)
7.7 92.6 45.0 20.0
Av
C-SC
23.5 78.6 65.0 40.0
4 CONCLUSIONS
Natural coagulant extracted from
Aloe vera rind by sodium chloride showed coagulation properties through
the jar test by using kaolin suspension as module of synthetic turbid water. The AvC-SC did not record any
desirable result as principle coagulant. In addition, AvC-SC showed low coagulation performance at neutral pH,
which most of surface water in range of 6 to 9. More importantly, AvC-SC showed excellent results when used
in mixed coagulant (alum + AvC-SC) with ratio of 1:1 and water with low turbidity close to turbidity of standard
drinking water could be achieved. Thus, AvC-SC could be used effectively as aid to alum as well as reduce cost
of treatment and use of alum by about 50%.
Figure 1: The effect of Sodium chloride concentration on AvC-SC extraction
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5
Trubidity (NTU)
NaCl (M)
Figure 2: The effect of AvC-SC concentration on turbidity removal
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
220
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
Final turbidity (NTU)
Rind dosage (mg/L)
Figure 3: The effect of pH on turbidity removal using AvC-SC coagulant initial turbidity 207 NTU
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Final turbidity (NTU)
pH
Figure 4: The effect of initial turbidity on turbidity removal using AvC-SC coagulant
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
Turbidity removal effeciency (%)
Initial turbidity (NTU)
Figure 5: The effect of mixed coagulant concentration on turbidity removal at pH 6
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
220
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
Final Turbidity (NTU)
Mixture dosage (mg/L)
Figure 6: The effect of pH on turbidity removal using mixed coagulant
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Final turbidity (NTU)
pH
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This work was supported by University Putra Malaysia through research university grant (RUGS.
9199673).
"[Click here to Type Acknowledgements]"
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... The increase in the concentration (over dosage) decreased the turbidity removal [28]. Some studies [29] show the dosage of coagulants used for the experiment is relatively much higher in comparison with concentrations of commonly used chemical coagulants used for water treatment, and using these higher dosages might make using natural coagulants economically and chemically unfeasible for the reasons stated above. ...
... The coagulation activity of aloe vera is attributed to the ionization of galacturonic acid ions in the medium which produces H+ ions which facilitate charge neutralization of the particles which cause turbidity [29]; [38]; [39]. Effect of varying pH on Aloe Vera From the graphs shown in Figure 2 and figure 3, we can observe that the turbidity reduction by aloe Vera is decreasing with increasing pH and the probable reason for aloe Vera working best at this condition is that the ionization of galacturonic along with the freely available H+ ions in the medium are facilitating charge neutralization of the particles which cause turbidity. ...
... Effect of varying pH on Aloe Vera From the graphs shown in Figure 2 and figure 3, we can observe that the turbidity reduction by aloe Vera is decreasing with increasing pH and the probable reason for aloe Vera working best at this condition is that the ionization of galacturonic along with the freely available H+ ions in the medium are facilitating charge neutralization of the particles which cause turbidity. And thus the charge neutralisation and flocculation are easily taking place [29]. ...
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In this work hemagglutinating activity (HA) was investigated in distinct Moringa oleifera tissue extracts. A new lectin from seeds (cMoL) was purified and characterized; hemagglutinating and coagulating activities were evaluated. HA was detected in 0.15 M NaCl extracts from flowers and rachis inflorescence (5%, w/v), seeds, leaves, fundamental tissue of stem and steam bark (10%, w/v). cMoL isolated after saline extraction and guar gel column chromatography was active at pH range 4.0–9.0 agglutinating erythrocytes from rabbit and human blood types. Extracts of tissues and cMoL activities were carbohydrate inhibited; azocasein and asialofetuin abolished cMoL HA. The lectin was thermostable at 100 °C during 7 h. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under reduced conditions revealed a main polypeptide band of 26.5 kDa; native basic cMoL was detected as a unique band. Seed lectin preparations and cMoL showed coagulant activity, similar to aluminium sulphate, the coagulant most widely used in water treatment.
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There has been very little scientific research work into the use of plant extracts to purify groundwater. Research studies on the purification of groundwater have mainly been carried out in developed countries and have focused on water purification systems using aluminium sulphate (a coagulant) and chlorine (a disinfectant). Such systems are expensive and not viable for rural communities due to abject poverty. Shallow well water, which is commonly available throughout Africa, is often grossly contaminated and usually consumed untreated. As a result, water-related diseases kill more than 5 million people every year worldwide. This research was aimed at examining natural plant extracts in order to develop inexpensive ways for rural communities to purify their groundwater.
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