The aim of this study was to investigate the potential of Luffa Cylindrica fibers in a biomass packed bed for the treatment of paint industry effluent before releasing into the environment. The fibers were modified by mercerisation in 0.5M NaOH for 24 h. Both modified and unmodified fibers were characterised using Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). A biomass packed bed was prepared for the study with a packing factor of 0.0617 and 0.0550 for the modified and unmodified fibers respectively. Measured parameters were the pH, colour, total dissolved solids (TDS), total suspended solids (TSS), dissolved oxygen (DO), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). Negative findings were achieved for TSS, DO and COD whilst positive findings were achieved for pH, colour, TDS and BOD. The extended residence time of 48 h was only of advantage for colour and BOD removal. In the domain of the positive results, the untreated fibers achieved 35% colour reduction, 5% TDS reduction and 77% BOD reduction all in 2 h. The treated fibers achieved 35% colour reduction in 30 minutes, 32.5% TDS reduction in 2 h and 82% BOD reduction in 30 minutes. The fibers treated with NaOH performed better in all indices where positive results were achieved except for pH. Luffa cylindrica fibres can be used as effective packing material in a biomass filter for the treatment of paint industry effluent before releasing into the environment based on WHO limits.
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