, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 127-130

Biosorption of uranium by cross-linked and alginate immobilized residual biomass from distillery spent wash

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Residual biomass from a whiskey distillery was examined for its ability to function as a biosorbent for uranium. Biomass recovered and lyophilised exhibited a maximum biosorption capacity of 165–170 mg uranium/g dry weight biomass at 15 °C. With a view towards the development of continuous or semi-continuous flow biosorption processes it was decided to immobilize the material by (1) cross-linking with formaldehyde and (2) introducing that material into alginate matrices. Cross-linking the recovered biomass resulted in the formation of a biosorbent preparation with a maximum biosorption capacity of 185–190 mg/g dry weight biomass at 15 °C. Following immobilization of biomass in alginate matrices it was found that the total amount of uranium bound to the matrix did not change with increasing amounts of biomass immobilized. It was found however, that the proportion of uranium bound to the biomass within the alginate-biomass matrix increased with increasing biomass concentration. Further analysis of these preparations demonstrated that the alginate-biomass matrix had a maximum biosorption capacity of 220 mg uranium/g dry weight of the matrix, even at low concentrations of biomass.

Received: 31 October 1996