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Title: Microbial biomass: An economical alternative for removal of heavy metals from waste water
Authors: Gupta, Rani
Mohapatra, Harapriya
Keywords: Effluent treatment;Heavy metals;Metal binding potential;Metal pollutant;Microbial biomass
Issue Date: Sep-2003
Publisher: NISCAIR-CSIR, India
Abstract: Today indiscriminate and uncontrolled discharge of metal contaminated industrial effluents into the environment has become an issue of major concern. Heavy metals, being non-biodegradable and persistent, beyond a permissible concentration form unspecific compounds inside the cells thereby causing cellular toxicity. The only alternative to remove them from the wastewater is by immobilizing them. The conventional methods adopted earlier for this purpose included chemical precipitation, oxidation, reduction, filtration, electrochemical treatment, evaporation, adsorption and ion-exchange resins. These methods require high energy inputs especially when it refers to dilute solutions. Here microbial biomass offers an economical option for removing heavy metals by the phenomenon of biosorption. Non-living or dead biomass sequester metal (s) on their cell surface due to certain reactive groups available like carboxyl, amine, imidazole, phosphate, sulphydryl, sulfate and hydroxyl. The process can be made economical by procuring spent biomass from industry or naturally avail able bulk biomass. A batch or a continuous process of removal of heavy metals directly from effluents can be developed in a fixed bed reactor using the immobilized biomass. Further biosorption potential of the biomass can be improved by various physical and chemical treatments. The availability of variety of microbial biomass and their metal binding potential makes it economical and sustainable option for developing effluent treatment process for removal and recovery of heavy metals.
Page(s): 945-966
ISSN: 0975-1009 (Online); 0019-5189 (Print)
Appears in Collections:IJEB Vol.41(09) [September 2003]

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