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Biosorption of heavy metal ions from aqueous solution by red macroalgae

Biosorption is an effective process for the removal and recovery of heavy metal ions from aqueous solutions. The biomass of marine algae has been reported to have high biosorption capacities for a number of heavy metal ions. In this study, four species of red seaweeds Corallina mediterranea, Galaxaura oblongata, Jania rubens and Pterocladia capillacea were examined to remove Co(II), Cd(II), Cr(III) and Pb(II) ions from aqueous solution. The experimental parameters that affect the biosorption process such as pH, contact time and biomass dosage were studied. The maximum biosorption capacity of metal ions was 105.2 mg/g at biomass dosage 10 g/L, pH 5 and contact time 60 min. The biosorption efficiency of algal biomass for the removal of heavy metal ions from industrial wastewater was evaluated for two successive cycles. Galaxaura oblongata biomass was relatively more efficient to remove metal ions with mean biosorption efficiency of 84%. This study demonstrated that these seaweeds constitute a promising, efficient, cheap and biodegradable sorbent biomaterial for lowering the heavy metal pollution in the environment.