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Chemosphere. 2005 Jan;58(4):493-505.

Sorption of cobalt and nickel on anaerobic granular sludges: isotherms and sequential extraction.

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  • 1Sub-department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen Agricultural University, Biotechnion--Bomenweg 2, PO Box 8129, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The objective of this study was to investigate the sorption capacity and the fractionation of sorbed nickel and cobalt onto anaerobic granular sludges. Two different anaerobic granular sludges (non-fed, pH=7) were loaded with nickel and cobalt in adsorption experiments (monometal and competitive conditions). The combination of sequential extraction with the sorption isotherm analysis allowed the assessment of the sorption capacity of individual fractions present in the anaerobic granular sludges. The operational fractionation of the sorbed heavy metals was determined using a modified Tessier sequential extraction procedure. The sorption characteristics of each extracted fraction (exchangeable, carbonates, organic matter/sulfides and residual fractions) fitted well to the Langmuir model. The organic matter/sulfides fraction showed the highest affinity for cobalt and nickel in both sludges investigated compared to the other operationally defined fractions. The presence of iron negatively affected cobalt and nickel accumulation in this organic matter/sulfides fraction. The trace metals-iron sulfide interactions are likely to be the key process in controlling the distribution of cobalt and nickel during sorption onto non-fed methanogenic granules due to the high affinity of iron sulfides towards the metals studied.

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