Using Magnetically Responsive Tea Waste to Remove Lead in Waters under Environmentally Relevant Conditions

Siang Yee Yeo, Siwon Choi, Vivian Dien, Yoke Keow Sow-Peh, Genggeng Qi, T. Alan Hatton, Patrick S. Doyle, Beng Joo Reginald Thio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We report the use of a simple yet highly effective magnetite-waste tea composite to remove lead(II) (Pb2+) ions from water. Magnetite-waste tea composites were dispersed in four different types of water–deionized (DI), artificial rainwater, artificial groundwater and artificial freshwater–that mimic actual environmental conditions. The water samples had varying initial concentrations (0.16–5.55 ppm) of Pb2+ ions and were mixed with the magnetite-waste tea composite for at least 24 hours to allow adsorption of the Pb2+ ions to reach equilibrium. The magnetite-waste tea composites were stable in all the water samples for at least 3 months and could be easily removed from the aqueous media via the use of permanent magnets. We detected no significant leaching of iron (Fe) ions into the water from the magnetite-waste tea composites. The percentage of Pb adsorbed onto the magnetite-waste tea composite ranged from ~70% to 100%; the composites were as effective as activated carbon (AC) in removing the Pb2+ ions from water, depending on the initial Pb concentration. Our prepared magnetite-waste tea composites show promise as a green, inexpensive and highly effective sorbent for removal of Pb in water under environmentally realistic conditions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e66648
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 20 2013
Externally publishedYes


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