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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2004 Jul 1;275(1):131-41.

Sorption of lead, copper, cadmium, zinc, and nickel by marine algal biomass: characterization of biosorptive capacity and investigation of mechanisms.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260.


The marine algae Sargassum sp., Padina sp., Ulva sp., and Gracillaria sp., harvested locally, were investigated for their biosorption performance in the removal of lead, copper, cadmium, zinc, and nickel from dilute aqueous solutions. It was found that the biosorption capacities were significantly affected by solution pH, with higher pH favoring higher metal-ion removal. Kinetic and isotherm experiments were carried out at the optimal pH: at pH 5.0 for lead and copper, and at pH 5.5 for cadmium, zinc, and nickel. The metal removal rates were rapid, with 90% of the total adsorption taking place within 60 min. Sargassum sp. and Padina sp. showed the highest potential for the sorption of the metal ions, with the maximum uptake capacities ranging from 0.61 to 1.16 mmol/g for Sargassum sp. and 0.63 to 1.25 mmol/g for Padina sp. The general affinity sequence for Padina sp. was Pb>Cu>Cd>Zn>Ni, while that for Sargassum sp. was Pb>Zn>Cd>Cu>Ni. XPS and FTIR analysis of Sargassum sp. and Padina sp. revealed the chelating character of the ion coordination to carboxyl groups. It was confirmed that carboxyl, ether, alcoholic, and amino groups are responsible for the binding of the metal ions.

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