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Is Phycovolatilization of Heavy Metals a Probable (or Possible) Physiological Phenomenon? An In Situ Pilot-Scale Study at a Leather-Processing Chemical Industry

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Abstract:

Using algae to treat industrial effluents containing heavy metals presents an alternative to the current practice of using other biosorbents and physical and chemical methods. In this study, effluent from a leather-processing chemical industry in Ranipet, Tamil Nadu, India, was treated for the removal of heavy metals using the microalga, Chlorella vulgaris, which was isolated from the effluent itself. The objectives of this study were to (1) assess the mass balance of a model parameter, lead, in laboratory conditions and estimate the lead adsorption capabilities of the microalga and (2) conduct pilot-scale studies for the removal of heavy metals, using the microalga, from the effluent and the solid waste accumulated over the years generated by conventional treatment methods. The results of the study show that after 8 hours, Chlorella vulgaris exhibited a better adsorption capacity under sunlight compared to laboratory conditions (i.e., 30.6 mg/g dry weight vs 10.5 mg/g dry weight, respectively). Similarly, reduction of heavy metals and mass balance in pilot-scale field studies conducted in a high-rate algal pond showed that the microalga, apart from adsorption, complexation, and entrapment mechanisms, is likely to possess phycovolatilization capability probably via biotransformation processes.

Keywords: Chlorella vulgaris; effluent; heavy metals; lead; phycovolatilization

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/106143010X12780288628057

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research� (WER�) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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