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Bioresour Technol. 2003 Aug;89(1):41-8.

Lead and nickel removal using Microspora and Lemna minor.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota Duluth, 10 University Drive, Engineering Building 207, Duluth, MN 55812, USA.


Aquatic plants can remove heavy metal contamination from the surrounding water. This study examined the ability of Microspora (a macro-alga) and Lemna minor (an aquatic plant) to remove soluble lead and nickel under various laboratory conditions. Microspora was tested in a batch and semi-batch process for lead removal. L. minor was tested in a batch process with lead and nickel to examine the potential competition between metals for adsorption. The Microspora was exposed to 39.4 mg/l of lead over 10 days. Results show up to 97% of the lead was removed in the batch process and 95% in the semi-batch process. Initial concentrations below 50 mg/l (a dose that kills the algae) had no effect on the final concentration. The L. minor was exposed to lead and nickel using a full 3(2) factorial experimental design (nine experiments, plus replications). Initial lead concentrations were 0.0, 5.0, and 10.0 mg/l, and nickel concentrations were 0.0, 2.5, and 5.0 mg/l in the experiment. Overall, L. minor removed 76% of the lead, and 82% of the nickel. No synergistic/antagonistic effect was noted for the multiple metal experiments, in terms of metal removal.

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