Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 19, pp 16344–16350 | Cite as

Heavy metal (Cu, Cd, Pb, Cr) washing from river sediment using biosurfactant rhamnolipid

  • Weifang Chen
  • Yan Qu
  • Zhihua XuEmail author
  • Feifei He
  • Zai Chen
  • Sisi Huang
  • Yuxiang Li
Research Article


Heavy metal-contaminated sediments posed a serious threat to both human beings and environment. A biosurfactant, rhamnolipid, was employed as the washing agent to remove heavy metals in river sediment. Batch experiments were conducted to test the removal capability. The effects of rhamnolipid concentration, washing time, solution pH, and liquid/solid ratio were investigated. The speciation of heavy metals before and after washing in sediment was also analyzed. Heavy metal washing was favored at high concentration, long washing time, and high pH. In addition, the efficiency of washing was closely related to the original speciation of heavy metals in sediment. Rhamnolipid mainly targeted metals in exchangeable, carbonate-bound or Fe-Mn oxide-bound fractions. Overall, rhamnolipid biosurfactant as a washing agent could effectively remove heavy metals from sediment.


Biosurfactant Heavy metals Rhamnolipid River sediment Washing 



This work was supported by Shanghai Natural Science Foundation (14ZR1428900), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2017M611590) National Natural Science Foundation of China (51078233), Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars, State Education Ministry (SEM2013), and Shanghai Committee of Science and Technology (13230502300).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weifang Chen
    • 1
  • Yan Qu
    • 1
  • Zhihua Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Feifei He
    • 1
  • Zai Chen
    • 1
  • Sisi Huang
    • 1
  • Yuxiang Li
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environment and ArchitectureUniversity of Shanghai for Science and TechnologyShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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