Remediation of Lead-Contaminated Soil by Using Saponin Derived from Sapindus Mukorossi

Grace Masson, Elijah Ugwu, Nadia Martínez-Villegas, Bhaskar Sen Gupta

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Lead (Pb) contamination in soils is a major global concern for both humans and the environment. Saponin, a plant-based based and environment-friendly surfactant was used for remediation of Pb-spiked garden soil to test its effectiveness and suitability for Pb removal. A Box-Behnken design was designed to optimise the washing conditions using the following variables: soil type (100% topsoil; 50% topsoil/50% sand; 20% topsoil/ 80% sand); pH of the washing solution (2; 3.5; 5); and saponin concentration (1%; 3%; 5%). The results showed that optimum removal efficiency of 58.69% was achieved with saponin, while distilled water removed 3.92% Pb in a single wash. Saponin was found to be statistically more effective than distilled water (P< 0.05); an optimum pH of 3.5 significantly increased Pb removal efficiency (P<0.05). The washing process was found to cause slight surface erosion and weathering of the soil grains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Environment and Earth Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2022


  • Lead
  • Plant-based saponin
  • Sapindus mukorossi
  • Soil remediation


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