National Research Council of Canada. NRC Biotechnology Research Institute
biosorption; heavy metals; red algae; P. palmata
The biosorption of heavy metals from aqueous solutions was investigated, using a cheap and abundant dry biomass of red algae P. palmata. The Freundlich, Langmuir and Brunauer Emmer and Teller (BET) models were used to describe the uptake of lead (Pb²⁺), copper (Cu²⁺), nickel (Ni²⁺), cadmium (Cd²⁺) and zinc (Zn²⁺) on P. palmata. The good fits of the Langmuir and BET models to the experimental data reflected that the sorption on P. palmata was a multi-layer sorption, in which a Langmuir equation could be applied to each layer. The highest maximum sorption capacity qmax derived from the Langmuir model was 15.17 mg g⁻¹ for lead and 6.65 mg g⁻¹ for copper (dry weight metal /dry weight biosorbent) at a pH of 5.5-6. The affinity of metals for P. palmata was found to decrease in the order: Pb²⁺ > CO²⁺ > Cu²⁺ > Ni²⁺. The factors influencing copper and lead uptake were found to be contact time, pH, initial concentration and temperature. Biosorption of copper and lead was a rapid process, with 70% and 100% of the respective uptakes occurring within the first 10 minutes.