Chemically modified cellulose bearing metal binding sites like Schiff base and carboxylic acid groups was synthesized and characterized through Fourier transform infrared and solid state 13C–nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis. The chemically modified cellulose (Cell-PA) adsorbent was examined for its metal ion uptake ability for Cu(II) and Pb(II) ions from aqueous solution. Kinetic and isotherm studies were carried out under optimum conditions. Pseudo-second-order kinetics and Langmuir isotherm fit well with the experimental data. Thermodynamic studies were also performed along with adsorption regeneration performance studies. The adsorbent (Cell-PA) shows high potential for the removal of Cu(II) and Pb(II) metal ions, and it shows antibacterial activity towards selected microorganisms.

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