Surfactant-modified titania for cadmium removal and textile effluent treatment together being environmentally safe for seed germination and growth of Vigna radiata
The present work describes synthesis, detailed characterization, and application of bare and surfactant-modified titania nanomaterials (NMs) for various wastewater treatment applications as individual cases like cadmium (Cd) removal, methylene blue (MB) dye degradation, and treatment of real textile and dyeing industry effluent. These NMs are used as adsorbents and photocatalysts in an indegenously developed end-to-end treatment process and a photocatalytic reactor for treatment of textile wastewater. The used NMs are suitably filtered and recovered for reuse; however, still this work focusses on the extent of potential risk and environmental safety of these engineered NMs towards seed germination and plant growth, in the event they escape wastewater treatment plants and reach out to natural water bodies and soil systems, accumulate over a period of time, and comes in contact with plant species. For synthesis, sol-gel method was utilized; cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) were used as cationic and anionic surfactants, respectively, to act as particle growth templates and improve surface morphology. Detailed characterization involved XRD (X-ray diffraction), FTIR (Fourier-transform Infrared Spectroscopy), SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy), TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy), EDX (Energy Dispersive X-ray analysis), and BET (Brunauer-Emmett-Teller) surface area analysis. Improved morphology and surface properties, from irregular shape in Bare TiO2 to spherical shape in surfactant-modified titania, led to enhanced Cd removal and MB dye degradation efficiency. Bare TiO2 was used for complete treatment of textile wastewater, which took 5 h in achieving water quality, which is safe for discharge and reuse as per norms of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Govt. of India. Phytotoxicity studies of these NMs at a wide concentration range (0–1000 mg L-1) were undertaken towards Vigna radiata, and 500 mg L−1 concentration was found to be optimally safe for seed germination and plant growth.