Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 215–226 | Cite as

Alginate Properties and Heavy Metal Biosorption by Marine Algae

  • Eric Fourest
  • Bohumil Volesky
Original Articles


The physical properties of the alginate component in four different brown seaweeds (Sargassumfluitans, Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus vesiculo-sus, andLaminaria japonica) were characterized using potentiometric titration,13C-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), chemical analysis, and viscosity measurements. The heavy metal binding capacities of the corresponding seaweeds were directly proportional to their respective total carboxyl group content, and related to the electronegativity of the elements investigated (Ca, Zn, Cd, Cu, and Pb). The uronic acid composition or sequence of the alginate component did not affect the metal uptake properties of the biosorbents studied here. However, the alginate leaching owing to its solubilization by Na ions was observed to decrease with increasing intrinsic viscosity of the extracted alginate, related to its molecular weight, and with increasing apparent acidic dissociation constant, related to the alginate density inside the biomass.

Index Entries

Brown seaweed biosorbent biorecovery cation exchanger carboxyl groups intrinsic viscosity extraction nuclear magnetic resonance 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Fourest
    • 1
  • Bohumil Volesky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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