A Novel Approach to Precipitation of Heavy Metals from Industrial Effluents and Single-Ion Solutions Using Bacterial Alkaline Phosphatase

  • Gouri Chaudhuri
  • Pritam Dey
  • Devjyoti Dalal
  • P. Venu-Babu
  • W. Richard Thilagaraj


Enzymatic precipitation provides a novel cost-effective and eco-friendly method for remediation of heavy metals from different industrial effluents such as tannery, electroplating, dye industries, and many more. This study has paid attention to bacterial alkaline phosphatase (BAP) from Eschericia coli C90 which catalyzes para-nitrophenyl phosphate (pNPP) and produces inorganic phosphate (Pi) that helps in the precipitation of heavy metals as metalphosphates. The kinetic behavior of BAP with pNPP in Tris–HCl was studied for pH regimes 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, and 11 in detail. The results showed that the maximum activity of the enzyme was at pH 8.5 with an incubation period of 300 min at 37 °C. Based on the kinetic data, experiments were performed at pH 8.5 and pH 10 to precipitate Cr3+, Cr6+, Cd2+, Ni2+, and Co2+ from single-ion solutions (250 and 1,000 ppm concentrations) as well as industrial effluents, and the amount of metal precipitated as metalphosphate was derived by determining the amount of metal reduced in the supernatant of the reactions employing atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The precipitation of metals from single-ion solutions at pH 8.5 for 300 min incubation period followed the order Cd2+ > Ni2+ > Cr3+ > Cr6+ > Co2+. In the experiments involving effluents from tannery and electroplating industries, precipitation of 35.1 % of Cr6+, 77.80 % of Ni2+, and 57.42 % of Cd2+ was achieved from initial concentrations of 621, 97, and 122 ppm, respectively.


p-Nitrophenyl phosphate Bacterial alkaline phosphatase Enzymatic precipitation White biotechnology Heavy metals Industrial effluents 



The authors are thankful to SRM University, Kattankulathur, Tamil Nadu, India for providing the facilities to carry out the research work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gouri Chaudhuri
    • 1
  • Pritam Dey
    • 1
  • Devjyoti Dalal
    • 1
  • P. Venu-Babu
    • 2
  • W. Richard Thilagaraj
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology, School of BioengineeringSRM UniversityKattankulathurIndia
  2. 2.Nuclear Agriculture and Biotechnology DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreMumbaiIndia

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