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Application of biosorbents in separation of heavy metals

Suchitra Kumari Panigrahy

Assistant Professor

Department of Biotechnology,Kalinga University, Naya Raipur (C.G.)

The safe disposal of heavy metal wastes becomes a serious problem with the advancement in the nuclear energy sector. The radionuclides arising from nuclear power plants and mining operations poses a serious threat to the environment due to their long-lived property and probability of leaching of these radionuclides from geological repositories and mines.

Radionuclides are dangerous to the human health due to their high transferability, high solubility, long half-lives and easy assimilation in living organisms among the fission by-products. So radionuclide and heavy metal pollution by various nuclear and other industrial activities is matter of concern. The conventional treatment methods mostly ineffective or highly expensive for these radio waste.

Various physico-chemical and biological processes are available for removal of heavy metals from industrial waste before discharging into the environment. Biological processes such as sewage and water purification treatments have been used for several years due to the potential role of microorganisms to detoxify organic and inorganic pollutants.

Biosorption due to its simplicity, analogous operation to conventional ion exchange technology, apparent efficiency and availability of biomass and waste bio-products has been claimed as a promising technology for pollutant removal and/or recovery from solution.Sorption is a physico-chemical process by which one substance becomes attached to another. Biosorption is a physico-chemical process that can be simply defined as the removal of substances from solution by biological material. The biosorption process therefore involves a solid phase (biosorbent) and a liquid phase (solvent: normally water) containing the dissolved or suspended species to be sorbed(sorbate). Microbial biomass (bacteria, cyanobacteria, yeast, fungi), algae, waste biomass from various food industry and biotechnological processes, active sludge, plant and wood waste biomass, biomass containing chitin and chitosan may be used as biosorbents.


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