Final Report: Heavy Metals Removal from Dilute Aqueous Solutions using Biopolymers

EPA Grant Number: R825549C027
Subproject: this is subproject number 027 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825549
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC (1989) - Great Plains/Rocky Mountain HSRC
Center Director: Erickson, Larry E.
Title: Heavy Metals Removal from Dilute Aqueous Solutions using Biopolymers
Investigators: Lewandowski, Z.
Institution: Montana State University - Bozeman
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: February 1, 1990 through September 1, 1992
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (1989) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Heavy Metal Contamination of Soil/Water , Land and Waste Management


The goal of the project is to compare the metal binding properties of microorganisms (bacteria) and extracellular polymers extracted from microorganisms, utilized for heavy metals removal from dilute aqueous solutions. Objectives:

1. Operate an activated sludge reactor for Cu2+ removal (biotic system).
2. Operate a filter filled with beads made of calcium alginate for Cu2+ removal (abiotic system).
3. Determine stability coefficients, reaction rate, reaction order and stoichiometric coefficients for Cu2+ binding to activated sludge and to calcium alginate.
4. Determine the diffusion coefficient for copper in calcium alginate.
5. Describe metal binding by a single bead made of calcium alginate in terms of the binding model.
6. Describe metal binding by activated sludge in terms of the binding model.
7. Compare efficiency and operational parameters of the biotic and abiotic system for Cu2+ removal.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

Aliginates are naturally occurring copolymers consisting of linear chains of 1,4 linked b-D-manuronic and a-L-guluronic acid residues (1,6,9). Their unbranched chains display varying lengths, and proportions and sequences of acid units depending on the source organism. Two important characteristics used for classifying alginates are the fraction of guluronic acid in the sample, and the average length of successively linked guluronic acid units, called G-blocks.

Flexibility of an alginate molecule decreases in the order MG>MM>GG where MG, MM, and GG represent the predominant pair sequence (of manuronic and guluronic acid) in the chain (1,6). Viscosity, on the other hand, depends primarily on molecular size, i.e., number of residues in an average chain.

Alginates are natural materials and as such contain minute quantities of foreign substance (3). Polyphenols are common contaminants of alginate. They can lead to discoloration of the immobilizing material, interference with the activities of immobilized live cells and enzymes, or form complexes with absorbed heavy metals. Natural levels range from 0.78% to 0.027% (in iud equivalents) depending on the source. Contamination can be reduced to aas low as 0.005% when the raw alginate is filtered through a 0.45 u filter, reacted with formaldehyde to polymerize the polyphenols, oxidized with H2O2 or sodium chlorite, and extracted with ethanol or ether.

The investigators have described the kinetics and thermodynamics of metals binding to biopolymers from solution of many metals. The relevant parameters for process modeling were obtained from measurements binding constants, binding capacities, selectivity coefficients, diffusion coefficients and rates of metal binding reaction.

Results from this research provided theoretical basis for designing the biosorption process. Knowledge of both thermodynamic and kinetic parameters of metal binding reaction in abiotic and biotic environment allowed to evaluate biosorption as a technological process for heavy metals removal from water and waste water. The experimentally measured biosorption parameters designed a pilot scale plant for heavy metals removal from waste waters using biosorbents.

The results have been presented at professional meetins and communicated to interested professionals including the industrial cooperators at Montana State University.

Journal Articles on this Report : 5 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 6 publications 5 publications in selected types All 5 journal articles
Other center views: All 904 publications 230 publications in selected types All 182 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Chen D, Lewandowski Z, Roe F, Surapaneni P. Diffusivity of Cu-2+ in calcium alginate gel beads. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 1993;41(7):755-760. R825549C027 (Final)
not available
Journal Article Lewandowski Z, Walser G, Characklis WG. Reaction kinetics in biofilms. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 1991;38(8):877-882. R825549C027 (Final)
not available
Journal Article Lewandowski Z, Altobelli SA, Majors PD, Fukushima E. NMR imaging of hydrodynamics near microbially colonized surfaces. Water Science Technology 1992;26(3-4):577-584. R825549C027 (Final)
not available
Journal Article Little B, Ray R, Wagner P, Lewandowski Z, Lee WH, Characklis WG, Mansfeld F. Impact of biofouling on the electrochemical behavior of 304 stainless steel in natural seawater. Biofouling 1991;3:45-59. R825549C027 (Final)
not available
Journal Article VanHoudt P, Lewandowski Z, Little B. Iridium oxide pH microelectrode. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 1992;40(5):601-608. R825549C027 (Final)
not available

Supplemental Keywords:

metals, biopolmers, adsorption, complexation., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, Geochemistry, Fate & Transport, Analytical Chemistry, Hazardous Waste, Ecology and Ecosystems, Hazardous, fate and transport, biopolymers, contaminant dynamics, chemical transport, adsorption, chemical kinetics, hazadous waste streams, hazardous chemicals, organic chemicals, groundwater contamination, water quality, chemical releases, groundwater, contaminant transport models, bioploymers, heavy metals

Relevant Websites: Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 1990
  • 1991

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R825549    HSRC (1989) - Great Plains/Rocky Mountain HSRC

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R825549C006 Fate of Trichloroethylene (TCE) in Plant/Soil Systems
    R825549C007 Experimental Study of Stabilization/Solidification of Hazardous Wastes
    R825549C008 Modeling Dissolved Oxygen, Nitrate and Pesticide Contamination in the Subsurface Environment
    R825549C009 Vadose Zone Decontamination by Air Venting
    R825549C010 Thermochemical Treatment of Hazardous Wastes
    R825549C011 Development, Characterization and Evaluation of Adsorbent Regeneration Processes for Treament of Hazardous Waste
    R825549C012 Computer Method to Estimate Safe Level Water Quality Concentrations for Organic Chemicals
    R825549C013 Removal of Nitrogenous Pesticides from Rural Well-Water Supplies by Enzymatic Ozonation Process
    R825549C014 The Characterization and Treatment of Hazardous Materials from Metal/Mineral Processing Wastes
    R825549C015 Adsorption of Hazardous Substances onto Soil Constituents
    R825549C016 Reclamation of Metal and Mining Contaminated Superfund Sites using Sewage Sludge/Fly Ash Amendment
    R825549C017 Metal Recovery and Reuse Using an Integrated Vermiculite Ion Exchange - Acid Recovery System
    R825549C018 Removal of Heavy Metals from Hazardous Wastes by Protein Complexation for their Ultimate Recovery and Reuse
    R825549C019 Development of In-situ Biodegradation Technology
    R825549C020 Migration and Biodegradation of Pentachlorophenol in Soil Environment
    R825549C021 Deep-Rooted Poplar Trees as an Innovative Treatment Technology for Pesticide and Toxic Organics Removal from Soil and Groundwater
    R825549C022 In-situ Soil and Aquifer Decontaminaiton using Hydrogen Peroxide and Fenton's Reagent
    R825549C023 Simulation of Three-Dimensional Transport of Hazardous Chemicals in Heterogeneous Soil Cores Using X-ray Computed Tomography
    R825549C024 The Response of Natural Groundwater Bacteria to Groundwater Contamination by Gasoline in a Karst Region
    R825549C025 An Electrochemical Method for Acid Mine Drainage Remediation and Metals Recovery
    R825549C026 Sulfide Size and Morphology Identificaiton for Remediation of Acid Producing Mine Wastes
    R825549C027 Heavy Metals Removal from Dilute Aqueous Solutions using Biopolymers
    R825549C028 Neutron Activation Analysis for Heavy Metal Contaminants in the Environment
    R825549C029 Reducing Heavy Metal Availability to Perennial Grasses and Row-Crops Grown on Contaminated Soils and Mine Spoils
    R825549C030 Alachlor and Atrazine Losses from Runoff and Erosion in the Blue River Basin
    R825549C031 Biodetoxification of Mixed Solid and Hazardous Wastes by Staged Anaerobic Fermentation Conducted at Separate Redox and pH Environments
    R825549C032 Time Dependent Movement of Dioxin and Related Compounds in Soil
    R825549C033 Impact of Soil Microflora on Revegetation Efforts in Southeast Kansas
    R825549C034 Modeling the use of Plants in Remediation of Soil and Groundwater Contaminated by Hazardous Organic Substances
    R825549C035 Development of Electrochemical Processes for Improved Treatment of Lead Wastes
    R825549C036 Innovative Treatment and Bank Stabilization of Metals-Contaminated Soils and Tailings along Whitewood Creek, South Dakota
    R825549C037 Formation and Transformation of Pesticide Degradation Products Under Various Electron Acceptor Conditions
    R825549C038 The Effect of Redox Conditions on Transformations of Carbon Tetrachloride
    R825549C039 Remediation of Soil Contaminated with an Organic Phase
    R825549C040 Intelligent Process Design and Control for the Minimization of Waste Production and Treatment of Hazardous Waste
    R825549C041 Heavy Metals Removal from Contaminated Water Solutions
    R825549C042 Metals Soil Pollution and Vegetative Remediation
    R825549C043 Fate and Transport of Munitions Residues in Contaminated Soil
    R825549C044 The Role of Metallic Iron in the Biotransformation of Chlorinated Xenobiotics
    R825549C045 Use of Vegetation to Enhance Bioremediation of Surface Soils Contaminated with Pesticide Wastes
    R825549C046 Fate and Transport of Heavy Metals and Radionuclides in Soil: The Impacts of Vegetation
    R825549C047 Vegetative Interceptor Zones for Containment of Heavy Metal Pollutants
    R825549C048 Acid-Producing Metalliferous Waste Reclamation by Material Reprocessing and Vegetative Stabilization
    R825549C049 Laboratory and Field Evaluation of Upward Mobilization and Photodegradation of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins and Furans in Soil
    R825549C050 Evaluation of Biosparging Performance and Process Fundamentals for Site Remediation
    R825549C051 Field Scale Bioremediation: Relationship of Parent Compound Disappearance to Humification, Mineralization, Leaching, Volatilization of Transformaiton Intermediates
    R825549C052 Chelating Extraction of Heavy Metals from Contaminated Soils
    R825549C053 Application of Anaerobic and Multiple-Electron-Acceptor Bioremediation to Chlorinated Aliphatic Subsurface Contamination
    R825549C054 Application of PGNAA Remote Sensing Methods to Real-Time, Non-Intrusive Determination of Contaminant Profiles in Soils
    R825549C055 Design and Development of an Innovative Industrial Scale Process to Economically Treat Waste Zinc Residues
    R825549C056 Remediation of Soils Contaminated with Wood-Treatment Chemicals (PCP and Creosote)
    R825549C057 Effects of Surfactants on the Bioavailability and Biodegradation of Contaminants in Soils
    R825549C058 Contaminant Binding to the Humin Fraction of Soil Organic Matter
    R825549C059 Identifying Ground-Water Threats from Improperly Abandoned Boreholes
    R825549C060 Uptake of BTEX Compounds by Hybrid Poplar Trees in Hazardous Waste Remediation
    R825549C061 Biofilm Barriers for Waste Containment
    R825549C062 Plant Assisted Remediation of Soil and Groundwater Contaminated by Hazardous Organic Substances: Experimental and Modeling Studies
    R825549C063 Extension of Laboratory Validated Treatment and Remediation Technologies to Field Problems in Aquifer Soil and Water Contamination by Organic Waste Chemicals