Biosorption of heavy metals by bacteria isolated from activated sludge

Wa C. Leung, Hong Chua, Wai Hung Lo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Twelve aerobic bacteria from activated sludge were isolated and identified. These included both Gram-positive (e.g., Bacillus) and Gram-negative (e.g., Pseudomonas) bacteria. The biosorption capacity of these strains for three different heavy metals (copper, nickel, and lead) was determined at Ph 5.0 and initial metal concentration of 100 mg/L. Among these 12 isolates, Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes was selected for further investigation owing to its high metal biosorption capacity. The lead and copper biosorption of this strain followed the Langmuir isotherm model quite well with maximum biosorption capacity (qmax) reaching 271.7 mg of Pb2+/g of dry cell and 46.8 mg of Cu2+/g of dry cell at Ph 5.0. Study of the effect of Ph on lead and copper removal indicated that the metal biosorption increased with increasing Ph from 2.0 to 7.0. A mutual inhibitory effect was observed in the lead-copper system because the presence of either ion affected the sorption capacity of the other. Unequal inhibitions were observed in all the nickel binary systems. The increasing order of affinity of the three metals toward P. pseudoalcaligenes was Ni < Cu < Pb. The metal biosorptive potential of these isolates, especially P. pseudoalcaligenes, may have possible applications in the removal and recovery of metals from industrial effluents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-184
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology - Part A Enzyme Engineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2001


  • Activated sludge
  • Bioremediation
  • Biosorption
  • Copper adsorption
  • Lead removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering


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