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Pure Appl. Chem. 76(4), 801-813, 2004

Pure and Applied Chemistry

Vol. 76, Issue 4

Use of phytofiltration technologies in the removal of heavy metals: A review

J. L. Gardea-Torresdey, G. de la Rosa, and J. R. Peralta-Videa

Chemistry Department and Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D.
Program, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA

Abstract: Biosorption is a relatively new process that has proven very promising in the removal of contaminants from aqueous effluents. Microorganisms as well as plant- and animal-derived materials have been used as biosorbents by many researchers. Biomaterial immobi-
lization and chemical modification improves the adsorption capacity and stability of biosorbents. Biosorption experiments over Cu(II), Cd(II), Pb(II), Cr(III), and Ni(II) demonstrated that biomass Cu(II) adsorption ranged from 8.09 to 45.9 mg g–1, while Cd(II) and
Cr(VI) adsorption ranged from 0.4 to 10.8 mg g–1 and from 1.47 to 119 mg g–1, respectively.
Mechanisms involved in the biosorption process include chemisorption, complexation, surface and pore adsorption-complexation, ion exchange, microprecipitation, hydroxide con-
densation onto the biosurface, and surface adsorption. Chemical modification and spectroscopic studies have shown that cellular components including carboxyl, hydroxyl, sulfate, sulfhydryl, phosphate, amino, amide, imine, and imidazol moieties have metal binding properties and are therefore the functional groups in the biomass. Column studies using support matrices for biomass immobilization such as silica, agar, polyacrilamide, polysulfone, algi-
nates, cellulase, and different cross-linking agents have been performed to improve the biomass adsorption capacity and reusability. In this review, the salient features of plant-derived
materials are highlighted as potential phytofiltration sources in the recovery of toxic heavy and precious metals.

*Plenary lectures presented at the Inaugural Conference for the Southern and Eastern Africa Network of Analytical Chemists (SEANAC), Gaborone, Botswana, 7-10 July 2003. Other presentations are published in this issue, pp. 697-888.

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