An Fe(III)-loaded chelating fabric with iminodiacetic acid (IDA) functional groups was prepared by radiation induced graft polymerization of an epoxy group containing monomer, glycidyl methacrylate, onto a nonwoven fabric made of polypropylene coated by polyethylene (PE/PP) and subsequent Fe(III) loading. Grafting conditions were optimized, and GMA grafted polymer was modified with iminodiacetic acid in isopropyl alcohol/water at 80 degrees C. In order to prepare the polymeric ligand exchanger (PLE) for the removal of phosphate, IDA fabrics were loaded with Fe(III) ions. Fe(III) loading capacity of IDA fabric was determined to be 2.83 mmol Fe(III)/g of polymer. For removal of phosphate anion, adsorption experiments were performed in batch mode at different pH (2-9) and phosphate concentrations. It was found that phosphate adsorption by the Fe(III)-loaded IDA fabric is maximum at pH 2.00. The effect of initial concentration of phosphate on the adsorption behaviour of Fe(III)-loaded IDA nonwoven fabric was determined at low phosphate concentrations (0.5-25 ppm) and at high phosphate concentrations (50-1000 ppm). (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.