American Journal of Plant Sciences, 2013, 4, 1983-1989 Published Online October 2013 (
Padina pavonica for the Removal of Dye from Polluted
Eman M. Fakhry
Department of Botany and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.
Received July 29th, 2013; revised August 29th, 2013; accepted September 15th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Eman M. Fakhry. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The adsorption of fast yellow dye onto dried biomass Padina pavonica was studied in batch experiments. The amount
of dye adsorbed (mg/g) was increased with the increase in initial dye concentration. An equilibrium time of about 90
min was achieved for dye concentrations ranging from 5 to 160 mg/L with maximum removal percentage of 73.2%.
Pseudo-first and second order kinetic models have been used to analyze the adsorption data. The pseudo second-order
kinetic model adequately described the adsorption data with correlation coefficient between 0.96 and 1.084. Fourier
transform infra-red analysis demonstrated the chelating character of the dye molecule to different functionalities groups
of the alga. Stirring speed higher than 50 rpm revealed no significant changes in dye adsorption. Temperature ranging
from 15˚C to 65˚C showed stability followed by a decrease in adsorption. Scanning electron microscopy of adsorbent
particles showed a high surface porosity allowing the free passage of dye molecules.
Keywords: Adsorption; Dried Padina pavonica; Equilibrium; Fast Yellow Dye; Functional Groups
1. Introduction
Pollution is an environmental problem of worldwide
concern. Consuming of water by agricultural, industrial
and domestic sectors resulted in the generation of large
amounts of waste water containing a number of pollut-
ants [1]. Organic dyes in water are one of the important
classes of pollutants [2]. It is difficult to treat dyes as
they have a complex molecular structure which makes
them more stable and difficult to be biodegraded [3,4].
The first known use of organic colorant appeared nearly
4000 years ago, when the blue dye indigo was found in
the wrapping of mummies in Egyptian tombs [5]. There
are more than 100,000 commercial dyes with a roughly
estimated production of millions of tons per year [6-8].
Azo-dyes are one of the important classes of dyes which
are characterized by an azo group consisting of two ni-
trogen atoms (–NN–) as the chromophore in the mole-
cule [9]. These dyes find application in many industries
including textile, cosmetic, food colorants, printing, and
pharmaceutical industries. The effluents of these indus-
tries tend to contain dyes in sufficient quantities. They
cause coloration of water bodies once released into the
aquatic environment and subsequently interfere with the
transmission of light affecting aquatic communities’ life
[10]. Various treatment technologies such as precipita-
tion, ion exchange, and adsorption have been employed
to remove dye pollutants from aqueous solutions. Ad-
sorption using low cost biological materials is generally
regarded as an effective technique for the treatment of
dye-containing wastewater [11-16]. One of the promising
biological materials is the use of nonviable dried organ-
isms. They have been proposed as potential sorbents; since
they are dead materials having no need of nutrition to
keep the biomass [17]. Algae have been found to be po-
tential and suitable biosorbent because of their fast and
easy growth as well as their wide availability. There were
various researches on the usage of micro and macro algae
as sorbent materials [2,18-21]. The sorption capability of
algae has been attributed to their cell walls which are
often porous and allow the passage of molecules and ions
in aqueous solutions [22,23]. Essentially, the extracellu-
lar biopolymers of Phaeophyta are predominately alginic
acid or alginate with a smaller amount of fucoidan which
seems easily permeable for small ions [24]. Whereas the
Rhodophyta contain a number of sulfated galactans like
agar, carregeenan and porphyran [25]. Thus, the adsorp-
tion capacity along with the dye sorption process onto the
surface is due to the different long chain extracellular bi-
opolymers. Furthermore, algae functional groups found
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. AJPS
Padina pavonica for the Removal of Dye from Polluted Water
on the algal cell surface such as hydroxyl, carboxyl, ami-
no and phosphate and other charged groups are consider-
ed to be responsible for dye binding and separation of
contaminants from water [26-29].
The examined biological material in this study is Pa-
dina pavonica. It is a widely distributed Mediterranean
brown seaweed commonly known as peacock tail. The
present work is to investigate the potential of this alga for
the removal of fast yellow dye from contaminated aque-
ous solution. Effects of various operating parameters such
as contact time, initial dye concentration, temperature and
stirring speed are considered. The pseudo-first and sec-
ond order equations are used for modeling the kinetics of
the dye adsorption. The functional groups involved in the
adsorption process were identified using FTIR analysis.
Beside, adsorbent surface examinations are performed us-
ing scanning electron microscopy.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Algal Material
Fresh samples of Padina pavonica (L.) Lamouroux were
collected from the coastal zone of Abu-Quir, Mediterra-
nean Sea, Alexandria, Egypt during spring season. The
alga grows on submerged rocks up to 50 cm depth. It has
flattened fan-shaped thallus up to 15 cm. The thallus is
calcified with concentric bands of hairs. The algal sam-
ples were thoroughly washed under running tap water to
remove the surface adhered particles. Subsequently, it
was air dried for about 30 minutes and oven dried at
45˚C to a constant weight. The dried biomass was cru-
shed and stored in airtight container at room temperature
for subsequent using.
2.2. Dye Solution
Acid fast yellow dye was kindly provided by dyestuffs
and chemicals company (Elbeherah, Egypt). It was used
without further purification. The molecular structure of
the dye is shown in Figure 1. Stock solution was pre-
pared at room temperature (25˚C ± 2˚C) by dissolving 1
g of acid fast yellow in 1L distilled water. The test solu-
tions were prepared by diluting stock solution to the de-
Figure 1. Chemical structure of acid fast yellow dye.
sired concentrations. Dye concentrations were measured
at wave length 407 nm using Perkin Elmer UV-VIS spec-
2.3. Adsorption Protocol
Adsorption experiments were carried out in 500 ml Er-
lenmeyer flasks by agitating 2.0 g dried alga with 200 ml
desired dye concentrations (5, 10, 20, 40, 80 and 160
mg· L 1) at room temperature. The pH was kept without
treatment. Samples were taken out at various time inter-
vals (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 minutes)
and sedimented by centrifugation at 5000 rpm for 10 mi-
nutes. The clear phase was subsequently analyzed for re-
sidual concentration of the dye at λmax.
To express the percent of dye removal, the following
equation was used:
% dye removalCCC100
where Ci = the initial dye concentration (mg dye·L1), Ce
= the equilibrium dye concentration (mg dye·L1) at time
The amount of dye adsorbed, q (mg/g), was obtained
as follows:
where v = the volume of solution and M = the dry weight
(g) of the adsorbent.
2.4. Adsorption Kinetic Studies
A study on the kinetics of adsorption is desirable as it
provides information about the mechanism of adsorption;
as well it describes how adsorbates will interact with an
adsorbent. In order to characterize the kinetic behavior of
the reaction and to fit the experimental data, two kinetic
models are used:
1) The pseudo first-order lagergren expression [30]
was the first equation for the adsorption of liquid/solid
system based on the solid capacity. It can be expressed
Log qqlog qk2.3t 30 
where qe is the amount of dye adsorbed (mg·g1) at equi-
librium, q is the amount of dye adsorbed (mg·g1) at time
t (min) and k1 is the rate constant of pseudo first-order
adsorption (min1).
2) The pseudo-second kinetic rate law derived by Ho
and Mckay [31], where the sorption capacity was as-
sumed to be proportional to the number of active sites
occupied on the sorbent. It can be expressed as:
tq= 1k1qtq
where k2 is the pseudo second-order rate constant with a
unit of g·mg1·min1.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. AJPS
Padina pavonica for the Removal of Dye from Polluted Water 1985
The best-fit equilibrium model was selected based on
the linear squared regression correlation coefficient, R2,
2.5. Sorbent Characterization
The functional groups of Padina pavonica were inter-
preted using the fourier transform infrared (FTIR) tech-
nique. A sample of adsorbent was mixed with approxi-
mately 0.5 g potassium bromide in the sample disk short-
ly before recording the spectra. The spectra were collec-
ted by Perkin-Elmer spectrum RXIFT-IR System within
the range 500 - 4000 cm1.
2.6. Scanning Electron Microscopy
To study the surface texture, porous properties and mor-
phology of the algal particles, scanning electron micro-
scope examination was chosen. Samples were coated with
a thin electric conductive gold film prior to use. Exami-
nations of surface texture were performed using Jeol
JSM-5300 scanning electron microscope.
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Dye Concentrations and Sorbent Contact
The relationship between the time profiles and the dye
removal percentage at various initial dye concentrations
is shown in Figure 2. The adsorption rate of dye in-
creased from 18.8% to 73.23% as the dye concentration
increased from 5 to 160 mg/L. This can be attributed to
an increase in surface area of the biosorbent, which in
turn increases the binding sites. Generally, the adsorption
rate is strongly influenced by several parameters includ-
ing the state of the solid, availability of solute, and inter-
ference between reactive binding sites [32].
Figure 2. Effect of contact time on the adsorption rate of
fast yellow by Padina pavonica.
3.2. Sorption Equilibrium Studies
In Figure 3, adsorption capacity (q) is correlated with
time (min) at different initial dye concentrations (mg/L)
keeping biosorbent weight as constant. It shows that most
of the dye is adsorbed to achieve adsorption equilibrium
in about 90 min except for 20 mg/L dye concentration; it
was 120 min. At this point, the amount of dye being ad-
sorbed onto the alga was in equilibrium state and no in-
crease in loading capacity on the external surface of the
adsorbent can take place. The overall adsorption is seen
to consist of higher adsorption rate at the early period
which may be due to the availability of more adsorption
sites on the adsorbent surface [33]. As time passes, the
adsorption rate is slow down due to the accumulation of
the dye molecules in the vacant sites. This observation is
consistent with the concept of non-homogeneity of the
algal surface, which contains a variety of active sites. It
serves as adsorption sites and may differ both with re-
spect to the strength of the dye sorptive bond and the rate
of adsorption onto the active sites [34,35]. Also it is more
likely to note that the external diffusion is one of the
rate-controlling steps of the initial fast adsorption of the
dye onto the biosorbent [36]. In general, adsorption may
be assumed to involve migration of dye from the bulk of
the solution to the surface of adsorbent followed by dif-
fusion of the adsorbate through the boundary layer and
into the interior pore structure of the surface of adsorbent
3.3. Adsorption Kinetics
The principle behind the adsorption kinetics involves the
search for a best model that well represents the interpre-
tation of adsorption data. The pseudo-first and second
order kinetic models, which are widely used to describe
the adsorption kinetics, were applied. The best-fit model
was determined based on the linear regression correlation
coefficient values. Since the linear dependency was not
Figure 3. Adsorption capacity of fast yellow onto Padina pa-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. AJPS
Padina pavonica for the Removal of Dye from Polluted Water
obtained between log (qe q) and t (Figure 4), it can be
said that the first-order equation of Lagergren does not fit
well to the whole range of contact time. This suggests
that the adsorption of dye onto the algal biomass is not a
first-order reaction. The second order rate constant k2 and
qe where determined by plotting tq versus t (Figure 5).
Correlation coefficient (R2) together with the adsorption
rate k2 show that the pseudo second-order model is well
in line with the tested experimental data. The linear plot
between log (qe q) and t was detected and the correla-
tion coefficients are nearly equal to 1 (Table 1). In the
view of these results, the pseudo-second order kinetic
model provided a good correlation for the adsorption of
fast yellow onto the biosorbent in contrast to the pseudo-
first order model.
3.4. Sorbent Characterization
FTIR spectroscopy involves collecting absorption infor-
mation in the form of spectra. These spectra specify the
absorption signals and the corresponding functional
groups on the pure biomass surface to be compared with
Figure 4. Pseudo-fist-order kinetic sorption of fast yellow
onto Padina pavonica.
Figure 5. Plot of the pseudo-second-order model at different
initial dye concentrations.
Table 1. Pseudo second order kinetic constants for the ad-
sorption of fast yellow onto algal biomass.
Dye concentrationqe k
(mg/L) (mg/g) (g/mg·min)
5 0.325 0.0344 0.971
10 0.65 0.017 1.05
20 1.319 0.0063 1.084
40 2.95 0.0037 0.988
80 6.12 0.0018 0.96
160 11.72 0.00094 1.009
the referenced data of IR absorption. The FTIR spectra
are in the range of 500 - 4000 cm1. It exhibits absorption
bands at 3250, 2550, 3400, 1200, 3000, 1670 and 1128
cm1 indicating the presence of OH, COOH, NH2, S=O,
C-H, C=O and C-O groups, respectively (Figure 6). This
assumes that the adsorbent consists of a heterogeneous
surface composed of different classes of adsorption sites.
These sites provide information on the nature of cell wall
and dye interaction. As well, they are involved in almost
all potential binding mechanisms. It was found that car-
boxyl and hydroxyl groups are mainly responsible for
dye sorption on Padina. However, other group function-
alities showed less contribution in binding with dye. This
result agreed with Murphy et al. [37] which reported that
metal binding to brown seaweeds showed significant
participation of carboxyl group accompanied by interac-
tion of other groups. In fact, the relative importance of
these functional groups depend on factors such as the
quantity of sites, their accessibility, chemical state and
affinity between site and dye [37,38].
3.5. Effect of Stirring Speed
The adsorption of dye as a function of stirring speed was
investigated at room temperature and pH solution. Seven
stirring speeds from 0 (without agitation) to 250 rpm
were studied to determine the significant speed required
for the optimal dye adsorption on dried alga. Figure 7
shows that maximum dye removal percentage was ob-
tained at 50 rpm stirring speed. Exceeding this speed,
there is no significant effect on the adsorption and the
dye removal percentage held almost with no variety. These
results indicate that the increase in stirring speed im-
proves the diffusion of dye molecules toward the surface
of the seaweed. However, stirring speed up to 50 rpm is
sufficient to assure that all the cell wall binding sites are
accessible for dye uptake. Afterward, the effect of exter-
nal film diffusion on adsorption rate is not significant
3.6. Effect of Temperature
The temperature dependence of dye adsorption onto the
dried biomass was studied at 15˚C, 25˚C, 35˚C, 45˚C,
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. AJPS
Padina pavonica for the Removal of Dye from Polluted Water 1987
Figure 6. Peaks for nonliving biomass of Padina pavonica
obtained from FTIR analysis.
Figure 7. Effect of stirring speed on adsorption rate of dye
onto non-living biomass.
55˚C and 65˚C keeping other parameters as constant. The
temperature effect shown in Figure 8 recorded relatively
slight differences in dye adsorption from 68.7% to 69.5%
as the temperature increase from 15˚C to 35˚C. This may
be due to an increase in the mobility of the adsorbate
molecules and the existence of the pores on the surface
of the adsorbent particles. Hussain et al., Meena et al.
and Seki et al. [38,40,41] noted similar observations and
they suggested that the increase in temperature increase
the rate of diffusion of the adsorbate molecules across the
external boundary layer and in the internal pores of the
adsorbent particle. This is due to the total volume and the
possibility of the adsorbent pores, an increase of number
of active sites for the adsorption as well as an increase in
the mobility of the adsorbate molecules. However, the
dye uptake was found to decrease from 69.5% to 54.1%
with temperature increase from 35˚C to 65˚C suggesting
that adsorption between the alga and the dye was mainly
physical adsorption, dominant at lower temperature.
Various authors [42,43] reported that the dye adsorption
decreases with the increase of solution temperature. This
can be explained by the weakening of bonds between dye
molecules and active sites of adsorbents for high tem-
peratures. Moreover the rise in temperature may damage
the active binding sites in the biomass.
3.7. Scanning Electron Microscopy
Scanning electron microscopy of biosorbent particles is
represented in Figure 9. It shows a high surface porosity
with numerous macropores and mesopores. These pores
exhibit hole-like with rough surfaces suggesting that the
examined biosorbent can tolerate superior dye adsorption
Figure 8. Dye removal percentage by dried algal biomass at
different temperature.
Figure 9. Scanning electron micrographs of non-living algal
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. AJPS
Padina pavonica for the Removal of Dye from Polluted Water
and allow the free passage of dye molecules. Hussain et
al. [38] noted similar observation as the increase in ad-
sorption uptake of lead might be due to the possibility of
porous structure on the non-living biomass Padina pa-
vonica surface. In fact, the differences in adsorption ca-
pacities of different algae may be related to the morpho-
logical and compositional differences among the cell walls.
Definitely, the pores may proof the increase of dye ad-
sorption on the surface.
4. Conclusion
Focusing on the adsorptive capacity and the uptake me-
chanism, the ability of Padina pavonica for dye removal
was investigated. Dye removal percentage increased as
the initial dye concentration increased with the maximum
removal percentage of 73.2%. The adsorption data were
time-dependent and adsorption equilibrium was reached
within 90 min. The sorption data corresponded well with
the pseudo second-order kinetic model where the linear
relationship was obvious and the correlation coefficients
were between 0.96 and 1.084. Characterization of adsor-
bent proved the relationship between adsorptive proper-
ties and the surface groups of the adsorbent. Scanning
electron microscopy informed that cell wall porosity may
possibly increase the dye adsorption. No significant ef-
fect on the adsorption for stirring speeds greater than 50
rpm was observed. The adsorption capacity was optimal at
35˚C. Nevertheless, advances in knowledge to minimize
dye in water body and to define more environmentally
friendly chemicals are also needed.
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