Papaya (Carica papaya L.) seeds were used as adsorbent to remove toxic pharmaceutical dyes (tartrazine and amaranth) from aqueous solutions, in order to extend application range. The effects of pH, initial dye concentration, contact time and temperature were investigated. The kinetic data were evaluated by the pseudo first-order, pseudo second-order and Elovich models. The equilibrium was evaluated by the Langmuir, Freundlich and Temkin isotherm models. It was found that adsorption favored a pH of 2.5, temperature of 298 K and equilibrium was attained at 180–200 min. The adsorption kinetics followed the pseudo second-order model, and the equilibrium was well represented by the Langmuir model. The maximum adsorption capacities were 51.0 and 37.4 mg g−1 for tartrazine and amaranth, respectively. These results revealed that papaya seeds can be used as an alternative adsorbent to remove pharmaceutical dyes from aqueous solutions.

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