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The ability of certain types of inactive, dead, microbial biomass to bind and accumulate heavy metals from aqueous solutions through non metabolically mediated or physico-chemical pathways of uptake. Materials which exhibit biosorptive behaviour (biosorbents) include certain algae, fungi and bacteria.




  • Algae: an inexpensive source of biomass which is available in large quantities in ocean waters. Sargassum brown algae biomass has been shown to biosorb cadmium, copper and uranium from aqueous solution. Alginate in the cell wall is believed to be the main component in the biosorption process.
  • Fungi: Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast biomass is known to biosorb cadmium and uranium. It is thought that phosphoryl and carboxyl groups in the cell walls are active in metal complexation.
  • Bacteria: bacterial biomass from strains such as Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa have demonstrated bioabsorptive properties towards copper, chromium cobalt and nickel ions. Bacteria are considered excellent biosorbents due to their high surface to volume ratio and high concentration of potentially active chemosorption sites.


  • Low cost method


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