Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 217, Issue 1–4, pp 233–244 | Cite as

Biosorption of Colour-Imparting Substances in Biologically Treated Pulp Mill Effluent Using Aspergillus niger Fungal Biomass

  • Sarah Grainger
  • George Yuzhu Fu
  • Eric R. Hall


Biosorption has potential to be an economical colour removal technology. As such, the colour removal potential of inactivated Aspergillus niger biomass was investigated for the treatment of activated sludge-treated pulp mill effluent from a northern bleached softwood kraft mill. Biomass pretreatment methods, effects of initial pH of the effluent and preparative biomass washing methods were examined. The most effective pretreatment method was found to be simple autoclaving of the biomass and this approach was applied in subsequent kinetic and isotherm batch studies. It was also found that the pH of the wastewater prior to addition of the biomass affected the biosorption rate and the solubility of chromophores in pulp mill effluent. The results also indicated that biomass washing methods reduced the quantity of organic matter leached from the fungal biomass during application. The kinetic study revealed that colour removal by biosorption occurred most readily in the first 8 h and could be described adequately by both the Lagergren and Ho et al. models. The maximum colour removal was over 900 TCU, with a biomass dose of about 20 g/L. The isotherm study data were fitted with the BET isotherm model. The results indicated that adsorption occurred in a multi-layer fashion and that physical adsorption was the main mechanism contributing to the biosorption. Therefore, dead A. niger biomass was concluded to be a promising alternative for colour removal from pulp mill effluent.


Biosorption Fungus Aspergillus niger Colour removal Pulp mill effluent Batch studies 



Throughout the laboratory work, the assistance and guidance of Susan Harper and Paula Parkinson has been vital and is greatly appreciated. This research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Grainger
    • 1
  • George Yuzhu Fu
    • 2
  • Eric R. Hall
    • 3
  1. 1.Valley Stewardship NetworkViroquaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Construction Management and Civil Engineering TechnologyGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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