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Tamil Journal of Science, Engineering and Technology
Volume 1, Number 1, Pages 2-24 (November 2016)
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Biosorption: A treatment technique to clean-up polluted wastewater

Tamil Journal of Science, Engineering and Technology, Vol. 1, No. 1, Pages 2-24, November 2016

K. Vijayaraghavan, T. Bhagavathi Puspa, J. Jegan

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ABSTRACT

Biosorption is a technique that can be used for the removal of pollutants from waters, especially those that are
not easily biodegradable such as metals. A variety of biomaterials are known to bind these pollutants, including
bacteria, fungi, algae, and industrial and agricultural wastes. In this review, the biosorption abilities of various
biosorbents toward metal ions are emphasized. The properties of the biomass constituents and the role of
functional groups, such as carboxyl, amine and phosphonate, are discussed on the basis of their biosorption
potentials. The binding mechanisms, as well as the parameters influencing the passive uptake of pollutants, are
analyzed. A detailed description of isotherm and kinetic models and the importance of mechanistic modeling are
presented. A systematic comparison of literature, based on the metal binding capacity of various biomasses under
different conditions, is also provided. The problems associated with microbial biosorption are analyzed, and
suitable remedies discussed. For the continuous treatment of effluents, an up-flow packed column configuration is
suggested and the factors influencing its performance are discussed. The present review also highlights the
necessity for the examination of biosorbents within real situations, as competition between solutes and water
quality may affect the biosorption performance. Thus, this article reviews the achievements and current status
of biosorption technology, and hopes to provide insights into this research frontier.
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