Use of the Cactus Cladodes Mucilage (Opuntia Ficus Indica) As an Eco-Friendly Flocculants: Process Development and Optimization using Stastical Analysis

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Research Unit of Applied Chemistry & Environment, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Monastir, Environment Street, 5019, Monastir, Tunisia


The Opuntia ficus indica mucilage was an abundant and a low cost product. In the present
paper, it was tested as an eco-friendly flocculants for textile waste water treatment. Its performance as
flocculants in decolorization, COD removal and turbidity abatement was checked. The natural product was
characterized using UV-Vis and Infra-Red spectroscopy. The study of the effect, followed by an optimization
and modeling analysis, of some experimental parameters on the coagulation-flocculation performance, using
cactus mucilage combined with aluminum sulfate (as a coagulant), showed that the best conditions for flocculation
process were given for a pH equal to 7.25, flocculants dose of about 40 mg/L, flocculation mixing speed of
about 30rpm and flocculation mixing time of about 11min. This gives a decolorization equal to 99.84%, COD
removal of about 88.76% and turbidity abatement of about 91.66%. The comparison between the flocculation
performance of commercial flocculants and the bio-flocculants agent exhibited that the latter has the highest
pollution removal.