Using Watermelon Rind to Clean Water from Copper, Zinc, and Cloudiness

Jenn Hoskins
23rd May, 2024

Using Watermelon Rind to Clean Water from Copper, Zinc, and Cloudiness

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at the University of Hassan II-Casablanca, Morocco, found that watermelon rinds can effectively treat water contaminated by metals and turbidity
  • Watermelon rinds achieved removal efficiencies of 97.51% for zinc, 99.88% for copper, and 99.21% for turbidity under optimal conditions
  • The study suggests that watermelon rinds could be a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional chemical coagulants for water treatment
Water treatment is a critical issue, especially in areas where access to clean water is limited. Traditional methods, such as the use of chemical coagulants, often come with high costs and environmental concerns. A recent study by researchers at the University of Hassan II-Casablanca, Morocco, has explored an innovative and eco-friendly solution: using watermelon rinds as a bio-coagulant for treating water contaminated by metals and turbidity[1]. Watermelon rinds, typically considered waste, were investigated for their potential to act as a biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternative to chemical coagulants. The study employed advanced analytical techniques, including Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy paired with energy dispersive X-ray analysis, and X-ray diffraction, to characterize the watermelon rinds before and after their use in water treatment. These methods helped in understanding the structural and compositional changes that occur during the coagulation process. The researchers used a Box-Behnken experimental design to optimize the most influential parameters: initial pH, coagulant dose, and particle size. This statistical approach, based on response surface methodology, revealed that the experimental data fit quadratic polynomial models. Under optimal conditions, the watermelon rind achieved impressive removal efficiencies of 97.51% for zinc, 99.88% for copper, and 99.21% for turbidity. Statistical analysis confirmed the high significance of the quadratic effects of dose and pH on the removal of metal ions Zn2+ and Cu2+. This study ties into previous research on decentralized water treatment methods, which have been gaining attention due to the challenges faced by centralized systems[2]. Traditional advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) often require high chemical and energy inputs, making them less practical for widespread use. By contrast, the use of natural coagulants like watermelon rinds offers a more sustainable and cost-effective solution. The study also aligns with earlier findings on the treatment of oily wastewater using coagulation/flocculation techniques[3]. While coagulation/flocculation is well-established and relatively efficient, it still faces challenges such as high treatment costs and complex compositions of wastewater. The use of watermelon rinds as a bio-coagulant could potentially address some of these challenges by offering a low-cost and biodegradable alternative. Moreover, the research on Moringa oleifera seeds as a natural coagulant for rural water treatment[4] supports the idea that natural materials can be highly effective in removing impurities from water. The Moringa oleifera study demonstrated significant reductions in turbidity, color, and chemical oxygen demand (COD), highlighting the potential of natural coagulants in water treatment. Similarly, the watermelon rind study showed that the rind powder retained its coagulation efficiency after five cycles of reuse, with removal rates of 80.04% for Zn, 88.33% for Cu, and 86.24% for turbidity. The findings from the University of Hassan II-Casablanca suggest that watermelon rinds could serve as a viable alternative to traditional chemical coagulants. Further testing on real industrial effluents at larger scales would help assess their feasibility for real-world applications. This research not only provides a sustainable solution to water treatment but also offers a way to repurpose agricultural waste, contributing to a circular economy.



Main Study

1) Optimization use of watermelon rind in the coagulation-flocculation process by Box Behnken design for copper, zinc, and turbidity removal.

Published 30th May, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Challenges and prospects of advanced oxidation water treatment processes using catalytic nanomaterials.

3) Application of coagulation/flocculation in oily wastewater treatment: A review.

4) Wastewater treatment using a natural coagulant (Moringa oleifera seeds): optimization through response surface methodology.

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