Facile synthesis of smart magnetic graphene for safe drinking water: Heavy metal removal and disinfection control

Ganesh Gollavelli, Chun Chao Chang, Yong Chien Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

242 Citations (Scopus)


Bacterial infections, the toxicity of engineered nanomaterials, the presence of inorganic pollutants in the environment, and providing safe drinking water are the most threatening problems of the 21st century. To tackle these challenges, we develop a one-pot, solvent free, and rapid synthesis of smart magnetic graphene (SMG) by microwave irradiation of graphene oxide (GO) and ferrocene precursors. The SMG possesses increased adsorption sites with tunable superparamagnetic properties (50 emu/g, 1:7 wt %), facilitating the adsorption and magnetic separation of aqueous Cr(VI), As(V), and Pb(II) with ∼99% removal efficiencies down to the 1 ppb level. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis of SMG-Cr(VI) reveals the reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III), presumably due to the surface phenolic groups and unprotected ferrous ions on the SMG surface. The maximum adsorption capacity of SMG is 4.86, 3.26, and 6.00 mg/g for respectively Cr(VI), As(V), and Pb(II) at an initial concentration of 5.0 ppm. The addition of KNO3 does not affect Cr(VI) adsorption efficiency; whereas Na2SO4 shows a decreasing trend on Cr(VI) adsorption. The SMG exhibits disinfection action (40 μg/L) toward E. coli bacteria with 100% killing efficacy and low toxicity (0.1 ng/nL) toward zebrafish without inducing any abnormalities. The SMG is reusable and successfully works on drinking water sources, suggesting that SMG is a preferred adsorbent for safe drinking water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-472
Number of pages11
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 6 2013


  • Biocompatible
  • Disinfection
  • Green chemistry
  • Heavy metal removal
  • Magnetic grapheme
  • Safe drinking water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Chemistry


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