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Int J Phytoremediation. 2016;18(2):184-9. doi: 10.1080/15226514.2015.1073673.

Lead removal by Spirulina platensis biomass.

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a Department of Botany and Microbiology , College of Science, King Saud University , Riyadh , Saudi Arabia.
b Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences , College of Applied Medical Sciences, Shaqra University , Shaqra , Saudi Arabia.


In this investigation, we report on the biosorption of Pb (II) from aqueous solutions by the nonliving biomass of the micro-alga (cyanobacterium) Spirulina platensis. Propagation of the micro-alga was carried out in outside oblong raceway ponds. The biomass was cleaned, dried and used for the investigation. The effects of pH, adsorbent dose, temperature, initial concentration of Pb (II), and contact time on the adsorption of lead by the dry biomass were studied. The experiments were carried out in 250 ml conical flasks containing 100 ml of test solutions using an orbital incubator at 150 rpm. Concentrations of the metal before and after the experiments were measured using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. Very high levels of Pb (II) removal (>91%) were obtained. The optimum conditions for maximal adsorption by S. platensis were found to be pH 3; 2 g of adsorbent dose; incubation at 26°C; 100 mg/l of lead initial concentration and 60 minutes of contact time. The experimental data fitted well with Freundlich isotherm equation with R(2) values greater than 0.97. Based on our results, we recommend the utilization of S. platensis biomass for heavy metal removal from aqueous solutions.


aqueous solutions; biosorption; heavy metals; microalgae

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