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Use of Bark Activated by Microalgae for Purification of Heavy Metal Contaminated Water

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The biosorption of copper (Cu), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni) from multimetal aqueous solutions was studied as a function of metal content in solution and amount and size of bark particles used for sorption. Influence of water hardness on the metal sorption process was also evaluated. Metal uptake from solutions with high heavy metal content (10x the limit for leachate from landfills with disposed inert waste) was found to be independent of calsium-ion concentration. At low metal content in solution, which was taken as 1x the limit for leachate from landfills with disposed inert waste, uptake of Cu, Zn, Ni, and Cd decreased with increasing water hardness. In order to increase the amount of metals taken up by bark, microalgae were entrapped on a bark surface. A significant increase in metal uptake was observed, e.g. sorption of Co, Zn, Ni, and Cd at conditions with high levels of both heavy metals and calcium increased by almost 50% compared with pure bark. Water with low levels of metals and calcium content was nearly 100% free from Cu and Pb. Uptake of other metals was quite high as well and ranged between 50-60%. Thus, the obtained treatment of bark with microalgae was successful and influenced positively on the sorption characteristics of bark, such as uptake capability and capacity of sorption. Use of the present biosorption process for water purification allows storage of sorbent at room temperature without any loss in the material's sorption characteristics. Air-drying of bark was shown to be the best way of sorbent treatment. Compared to methods such as freeze-drying, drying by liquid nitrogen and drying at 60 °C, air-drying led to the highest uptake of metals from contaminated water. In addition it is the cheapest and easiest way to perform bark treatment.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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