Sorption of Acridine Orange on Non-Swelling and Swelling Clay Minerals

Wei Teh Jiang, Yolin Tsai, Xisen Wang, Hannah J. Tangen, Jessica Baker, Lori Allen, Zhaohui Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Acridine orange (AO) is a cationic fluorescent dye commonly used in DNA analyses. Extensive studies were conducted for its metachromasy under different solution concentrations and different amounts of AO sorbed on a solid surface. Meanwhile, for the safe disposal of wastewater, AO removal from water using different materials was also evaluated extensively. Clay minerals, due to their large specific surface area, high cation exchange capacity, and vast reserves, have been evaluated as potential sorbents for the removal of a variety of different types of contaminants, including color dyes. In this study, the sorption of AO on different types of clay minerals was contrasted. The sorption of co-presenting Zn2+ was much less than the sorption of AO, suggesting that clay minerals have higher affinities for AO in comparison to inorganic Zn2+ . The desorption of exchangeable cations was linearly related to AO sorption, and the amounts of AO sorbed were close to the CEC values of the minerals, confirming that cation exchange is the dominating mechanism for AO sorption. Molecular dynamics simulation results showed that, under low and high AO loading levels, the sorbed AO formed monolayers and bilayers on the mineral surfaces of non-swelling clay minerals, except halloysite, as well as in the interlayer of swelling clay minerals, due to its relatively large dimer constant in solution. Overall, clay minerals are good candidates for the removal of cationic dyes from solution even in the presence of competing inorganic cations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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