Graphene-based adsorbents have attracted wide interests as effective adsorbents for heavy metals removal from the environment. Due to their excellent electrical, mechanical, optical and transport properties, graphene and its derivatives such as graphene oxide (GO) have found various applications. However, in many applications, surface modification is necessary as pristine graphene/GO may be ineffective in some specific applications such as adsorption of heavy metal ions. Consequently, the modification of graphene/GO using various metals and non-metals is an ongoing research effort in the carbon-material realm. The use of organic materials represents an economical and environmentally friendly approach in modifying GO for environmental applications such as heavy metal adsorption. This review discusses the applications of organo-functionalized GO composites for the adsorption of heavy metals. The aspects reviewed include the commonly used organic materials for modifying GO, the performance of the modified composites in heavy metals adsorption, effects of operational parameters, adsorption mechanisms and kinetic, as well as the stability of the adsorbents. Despite the significant research efforts on GO modification, many aspects such as the interaction between the functional groups and the heavy metal ions, and the quantitative effect of the functional groups are yet to be fully understood. The review, therefore, offers some perspectives on the future research needs.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.