A systematic review on adsorptive removal of hexavalent chromium from aqueous solutions: Recent advances

Anushka Upamali Rajapaksha, Rangabhashiyam Selvasembian, Ahamed Ashiq, Viraj Gunarathne, Anusha Ekanayake, V. O. Perera, Hasintha Wijesekera, Shamin Mia, Mahtab Ahmad, Meththika Vithanage, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The contamination of natural resources by hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) originating from natural and anthropogenic activities is a serious environmental concern. Although many articles on chromium remediation have been published, a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms involved in remediation with different sorbents is not yet available. In this systematic review, the performance and applicability of several adsorptive materials for Cr(VI) removal from aqueous media are discussed, along with a detailed analysis of the mechanisms involved. Statistical analysis is applied to compare the efficacies of different adsorbents, while a similar approach is used to determine the effects of sorbent properties and experimental conditions on the adsorption capacity. A detailed analysis of the factors involved in fixed-bed column studies is also presented. A suitable desorption approach to the regeneration of the spent adsorbent and its adsorption performance in reuse is also examined. Among the different sorbents, nanoparticles and mineral-doped biochar were found to be the most effective sorbents, while the adsorption was higher at low pH (~4.0) than that at intermediate pH (6–8). Contrary to our expectation, adsorption was high for sorbents with low specific surface areas, suggesting that the adsorption of Cr(VI) is largely influenced by the chemical properties of the sorbents. The optimum adsorption in fixed-bed column systems is obtained at a lower Cr(VI) ion concentration, a lower influent flow rate, and a higher bed height. Since most of the studies reviewed herein were merely experimental and utilized ideal conditions with the presence of a single contaminant, i.e. Cr(VI) in water, further studies on adsorption dynamics with the presence of other interfering ions are suggested. This review is promising for the further development of Cr(VI) removal strategies and closes the research gaps pertaining to their challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number152055
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb 25

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the the Research Council, University of Sri Jayewardenepura , Sri Lanka, for providing financial support (Grant No. ASP/01/RE/SCI/2021/20 ) and the Ecosphere Resilience Research Centre, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, for providing the working environment.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Adsorption
  • Cr(VI)
  • Sustainable remediation
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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