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Biotechnol Adv. 2007 May-Jun;25(3):264-71. Epub 2007 Jan 19.

Biosorption of precious metals.

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Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.


Biosorption has emerged as a low-cost and often low-tech option for removal or recovery of base metals from aqueous wastes. The conditions under which precious metals such as gold, platinum and palladium are sorbed by biomass are often very different to those under which base metals are sorbed. This, coupled with the increasingly high demand for precious metals, drives the increase in research into efficient recovery of precious metal ions from all waste material, especially refining wastewaters. Common biosorbents for precious metal ions include various derivatives of chitosan, as well as other compounds with relatively high surface amine functional group content. This is generally due to the ability of the positively charged amine groups to attract anionic precious metal ions at low pH. Recent research regarding the biosorption of some precious metals is reviewed here, with emphasis on the effects of the biosorption environment and the biosorption mechanisms identified.

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