Removal of inorganic mercury from aqueous solutions by biomass of the marine macroalga Cystoseira Baccata
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TitleRemoval of inorganic mercury from aqueous solutions by biomass of the marine macroalga Cystoseira Baccata
Water research, 2005, vol. 39, iss. 14, p. 3199-3210
[Abstract] The ability of Cystoseira baccata algal biomass to remove Hg(II) from aqueous solutions is investigated. The mercury biosorption process is studied through batch experiments at 25ºC with regard to the influence of contact time, initial mercury concentration, solution pH, salinity and presence of several divalent cations. The acid-base properties of the alga are also studied, since they are related to the affinity for heavy metals. The studies of the pH effect on the metal uptake evidence a sharp increasing sorption up to a pH value around 7.0, which can be ascribed to changes both in the inorganic Hg(II) speciation and in the dissociation state of the acid algal sites. The sorption isotherms at constant pH show uptake values as high as 178 mg.g-1 (at pH 4.5) and 329 mg.g-1 (at pH 6.0). The studies of the salinity influence on the Hg(II) sorption capacity of the alga exhibit two opposite effects depending on the electrolyte added; an increase in concentration of nitrate salts (NaNO3, KNO3) slightly enhances the metal uptake, on the contrary, the addition of NaCl salt leads to a drop in the sorption. The addition of different divalent cations to the mercury solution, namely Ca2+, Mg2+, Zn2+, Cd2+, Pb2+ and Cu2+, reveals that their effect on the uptake process is negligible. Finally, the equilibrium sorption results are compared with predictions 1 obtained from the application of a simple competitive chemical model, which involves a discrete proton binding constant and three additional constants for the binding of main neutral inorganic Hg(II) complexes, Hg(Cl) HgOHCl and Hg(OH)2, to the algal surface sites.