Metal contaminants are generally removed from effluents by chemical and physical processes which are often associated with disadvantages such as the use of toxic reagents, generation of toxic waste and high costs. Hence, new techniques have been developed, among them the study of natural adsorbents, for instance, the use of Moringa oleifera seeds. The potential of M. oleifera seeds for nickel removal in aqueous systems was investigated. The seeds utilized were obtained from plants grown in Uberlândia/Brazil. After being dried and pulverized, the seeds were treated with 0.1 mol/L NaOH. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and thermogravimetric analyses were used for the characterization of the material. Using the optimized methodology (50 mL of 4.0 mg/L Ni(II), pH range of 4.0–6.0, agitation time of 5 min and adsorption mass of 2.0 g) more than 90% of Ni(II) could be removed from water samples. The sorption data were fitted satisfactorily by the Langmuir adsorption model. Evaluation applying the Langmuir equation gave the monolayer sorption capacity as 29.6 mg/g. The results indicate that this material could be employed in the extraction of nickel, considering its ease of use, low cost and environmental viability, which make it highly attractive for application in developing countries.

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