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Biosorption of Heavy Metals with Kelp

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Kelp was investigated as a biosorbent for removal of heavy metals in this research. The results of biosorption column operations indicated that kelp has relatively high biosorption capacities for heavy metals of Cd, Cu, Ni, and Zn in aqueous solution. The breakthrough biosorption capacities of kelp for the investigated heavy metals varied in the range from 1.04 to 1.40 meq/g. The ultimate biosorption capacities were in the range of 1.60 to 1.91 meq/g. The cation complex stability and binding affinity of kelp for the investigated heavy metals was in the order of Cd > Cu > Ni > Zn. The leaching of light metals from biosorbent kelp was observed in the sequence of K < Na < Mg < Ca. The results in this research supported that ion exchange is the principal mechanism in the biosorption of heavy metals with kelp. Both weakly acidic carboxyl groups in alginic acids and strong acidic sulfate groups in fucoidin in biosorbent kelp contributed the most of the exchange sites for heavy metals ions. The biosorbent kelp behaves just as an ion exchanger to make a rapid and effective heavy metal uptake. The well-established ion exchange theory was used to develop the mathematical biosorption model for column operations. The concentration histories simulated by the biosorption model matched very well with the experimental results of biosorption column operations. The saturated kelp can be easily regenerated by hydrochloric acid for the potential recovery of heavy metals and the reuse of biosorbent kelp.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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