A novel adsorbent, composed of cross-linked de-esterified pectin microspheres, was prepared via cross-linking with Ca(II) and modification by de-esterified pectin, low-methoxyl pectin (LMP) and pectic acid (PA). Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) were applied too, exhibiting a successful fabrication, good adsorption ability, and well-defined surface microstructure beneficial to Pb(II) adsorption. The adsorption ability of pectin microspheres (PMs), low-methoxyl pectin microspheres (LMPMs) and pectic acid microspheres (PAMs) for Pb(II) in aqueous solution were explored. The maximum adsorption capacity of PMs, LMPMs and PAMs was 127 mg·g−1, 292 mg·g−1 and 325 mg·g−1 at pH 5.0 respectively, indicating a great improvement of LMPMs and PAMs in the adsorption ability for Pb(II) compared with PMs. Furthermore, the adsorption mechanism was proposed. The experimental data were well fitted with pseudo-second-order kinetic and Langmuir isotherm models. Five-cycle reusability tests demonstrated that microspheres could be used repeatedly. All the results confirmed that LMPMs and PAMs, which presented outstanding adsorption capability and reusability, could be a good candidate for wastewater purification.

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