Adsorptive performance of a mixture of three nonliving algae classes for nickel remediation in synthesized wastewater

  • Ahmed A. Mohammed
  • Aya A. Najim
  • Tariq J. Al-MusawiEmail author
  • Abeer I. Alwared
Research Article



The present study provided a comprehensive description regarding the application of a mixture of three nonliving classes of algae as a promising and inexpensive biosorbent for removing toxic nickel (Ni(II)) ions from the aqueous medium.


The biosorption process was tested by varying several experimental parameters such as pH (2–8), contaminant concentration (20–300 mg/L), biosorbent content (0.2–2 g/100 mL), and temperature (20–40 °C). In addition, the competition effects of the presence of Pb(II), Cu(II), and Zn(II) ions on the Ni(II) removal efficiency was studied by varying their concentrations from 30 to 40 mg/L.


The microscopic analysis of algae demonstrated that the used biosorbent consisted mainly of Chrysophyta (80%), Chlorophyte (14%), and Cyanophyta (6%). Results demonstrated that these environmental parameters influenced the removal efficiency with a different degree and there was no stable effects rank at conditions under examination. FT-IR and SEM analysis revealed that the biosorbent surface consists of many strong and active groups of negative valences such as hydroxyl and carboxyl groups, thus exhibiting several morphological properties of interest. Further, it was found that the Temkin model best fitted the isotherm biosorption data. The kinetic study showed that the Ni(II) biosorption was rapid within first 20 min of reaction time, thereby following a pseudo-second-order model, which in turn demonstrated a chemisorption process of Ni(II) ions reaction with the biosorbent binding sites. Also, the thermodynamic study suggested that the biosorption process of Ni(II) onto algal biomass was a spontaneous and endothermic in nature. The maximum uptake of Ni(II) was 9.848 mg/g under optimized conditions and neutral environment.


Thus, this significant finding suggested a favorable and eco-friendly treatment mechanism for removal of Ni(II) ions from aqueous medium via biosorption onto the used mixture of nonliving algal biomass.


Algal biomass Nickel Biosorption Isotherm, Kinetic Thermodynamic 



Authors express their thank to the University of Baghdad (Baghdad, Iraq) and Isra University (Amman, Jordan) for their support during this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Akbari M, Hallajisani A, Keshtkar AR, Shahbeig H, Ghorbanian SA. Equilibrium and kinetic study and modeling of Cu (II) and Co (II) synergistic biosorption from Cu (II)-Co (II) single and binary mixtures on brown algae C. indica. J Environ Chem Eng. 2015;3(1):140–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aksu Z. Determination of the equilibrium, kinetic and thermodynamic parameters of the batch biosorption of nickel (II) ions onto Chlorella vulgaris. Process Biochem. 2002;38(1):89–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Al-Rub AA, El-Naas MH, Ashour I, Al-Marzouqi M. Biosorption of copper on Chlorella vulgaris from single, binary and ternary metal aqueous solutions. Process Biochem. 2006;41(2):457–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Anwar J, Shafique U, Salman M, Dar A, Anwar S. Removal of Pb (II) and Cd (II) from water by adsorption on peels of banana. Bioresour Technol. 2010;101(6):1752–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    APHA (American Public Health Association). Standard method for the examination of water and wastewater. 20th ed. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; 2005.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Arief VO, Trilestari K, Sunarso J, Indraswati N, Ismadji S. Recent progress on biosorption of heavy metals from liquids using low cost biosorbents: characterization, biosorption parameters and mechanism studies: a review. CLEAN–Soil, Air, Water. 2008;36(12):937–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Arunakumara KKIU, Walpola BC, Yoon MH. Banana peel: a green solution for metal removal from contaminated waters. Korean J Environ Agric. 2013;32(2):108–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Aslam MZ, Ramzan N, Naveed S, Feroze N. Ni (II) removal by biosorption using Ficus religiosa (peepal) leaves. J Chil Chem Soc. 2010;55(1):81–4.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Balsamo M, Montagnaro F. Fractal-like Vermeulen Kinetic Equation for the Description of Diffusion-Controlled Adsorption Dynamics. J Phys Chem C. 2015;119:8781–8785.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Brouers F, Al.Musawi T. On the optimum use of isotherm model for the characterization of biosorption of lead onto algae. J of Mo Liq 2015;212:46–51.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bulgariu D, Bulgariu L. Potential use of alkaline treated algae waste biomass as sustainable biosorbent for clean recovery of cadmium (II) from aqueous media: batch and column studies. J Clean Prod. 2016;112:4525–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cayllahua JEB, de Carvalho RJ, Torem ML. Evaluation of equilibrium, kinetic and thermodynamic parameters for biosorption of nickel (II) ions onto bacteria strain, Rhodococcus opacus. Miner Eng. 2009;22(15):1318–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Chen J, Hu Z, Ji R. Removal of carbofuran from aqueous solution by orange peel. Desalin Water Treat. 2012;49:106–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Chowdhury S, Mishra R, Saha P, Kushwaha P. Adsorption thermodynamics, kinetics and isosteric heat of adsorption of malachite green onto chemically modified rice husk. Desalination. 2011;265(1–3):159–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dada AO, Olalekan AP, Olatunya AM, Dada O. Langmuir, Freundlich, Temkin and Dubinin–Radushkevich isotherms studies of equilibrium sorption of Zn2+ unto phosphoric acid modified rice husk. IOSR-JAC. 2012;3(1):38–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Du J, Dong Z, Yang X, Zhao L. Facile fabrication of sodium styrene sulfonate-grafted ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer as adsorbent for ammonium removal from aqueous solution. Environ Sci Pollut Res. 2018;25(27):27235–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Freundlich HMF. Over the adsorption in solution. J Phys Chem. 1906;57:385–407.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hawari AH, Mulligan CN. Biosorption of lead (II), cadmium (II), copper (II) and nickel (II) by anaerobic granular biomass. Bioresour Technol. 2006;97(4):692–700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ho YS, McKay G. Pseudo-second order model for sorption processes. Process Biochem. 1999;34(5):451–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hossain MA, Ngo HH, Guo WS, Setiadi T. Adsorption and desorption of copper(II) ions onto garden grass. J Bioresour Technol. 2012;121:386–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Jaafari J, Yaghmaeian K. Optimization of heavy metal biosorption onto freshwater algae (Chlorella coloniales) using response surface methodology (RSM). Chemosphere. 2019;217:447–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Jayakumar V, Govindaradjane S. Biosorption of Cadmium by Green Algae – A Review. J Adv Chem Sci. 2017;3(2):480–484.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kalhori EM, Al-Musawi TJ, Ghahramani E, Kazemian H, Zarrabi M. Enhancement of the adsorption capacity of the light-weight expanded clay aggregate surface for the metronidazole antibiotic by coating with MgO nanoparticles: studies on the kinetic, isotherm, and effects of environmental parameters. Chemosphere. 2017;175:8–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kalhori EM, Ghahramani E, Al-Musawi TJ, Saleh HN, Sepehr MN, Zarrabi M. Effective reduction of metronidazole over the cryptomelane-type manganese oxide octahedral molecular sieve (K-OMS-2) catalyst: facile synthesis, experimental design and modeling, statistical analysis, and identification of by-products. Environ Sci Pollut Res. 2018;25:34164–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kariuki Z, Kiptoo J, Onyancha D. Biosorption studies of lead and copper using rogers mushroom biomass ‘Lepiota hystrix. S Afr J Chem Eng. 2017;23:62–70.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Khan MA, Ngabura M, Choong TS, Masood H, Chuah LA. Biosorption and desorption of nickel on oil cake: batch and column studies. Bioresour Technol. 2012;103(1):35–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Lagergren S. About the theory of so-called adsorption of soluble substances. K Sven Vetenskapsakad Handl. 1898;24:1–39.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Langmuir I. The adsorption of gases on plane surfaces of glass, mica and platinum. J Am Chem Soc. 1918;40(9):1361–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Liu Y. Is the free energy change of adsorption correctly calculated? J Chem Eng Data. 2009;54(7):1981–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Mohammed AA, Isra’a SS. Bentonite coated with magnetite Fe3O4 nanoparticles as a novel adsorbent for copper (II) ions removal from water/wastewater. Environ Technol Innov. 2018;10:162–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mohammed AA, Abed FI, Al-Musawi TJ. Biosorption of Pb (II) from aqueous solution by spent black tea leaves and separation by flotation. Desalin Water Treat. 2016;57(5):2028–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Mohseni-Bandpi A, Al-Musawi TJ, Ghahramani E, Zarrabi M, Mohebi S, Vahed SA. Improvement of zeolite adsorption capacity for cephalexin by coating with magnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles. J Mol Liq. 2016;218:615–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Naghipour D, Taghavi K, Jaafari J, Mahdavi Y, Ghozikali MG, Amerie R, et al. Statistical modeling and optimization of the phosphorus biosorption by modified Lemna minor from aqueous solution using response surface methodology (RSM). Desalin Water Treat. 2016;57(41):19431–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Naghipour D, Taghavi K, Ashournia M, Jaafari J, Movarrekh RA. A study of Cr(VI) and NH4+ adsorption using greensand (glauconite) as a low-cost adsorbent from aqueous solutions. Water Environ J. 2018;0:1–12.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Nasseh N, Taghavi L, Barikbin B, Nasseri M. Synthesis and characterizations of a novel FeNi3/SiO2/CuS magnetic nanocomposite for photocatalytic degradation of tetracycline in simulated wastewater. J Clean Prod. 2018;179:42–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Noroozi N, Al-Musawi T, Kazemian H, Kalhori HE, Zarrabi M. Removal of cyanide using surfacemodified Linde type-A zeolite nanoparticles as an efficient and ecofriendly material. 2018, Water Process Eng. 2018;21:44–51.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Onundi YB, Mamun AA, Al Khatib MF, Ahmed YM. Adsorption of copper, nickel and lead ions from synthetic semiconductor industrial wastewater by palm shell activated carbon. Int J Environ Sci Technol. 2010;7(4):751–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Pahlavanzadeh H, Keshtkar AR, Safdari J, Abadi Z. Biosorption of nickel (II) from aqueous solution by brown algae: equilibrium, dynamic and thermodynamic studies. J Hazard Mater. 2010;175(1–3):304–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ratnasri PV, Hemalatha KPJ. Studies on biosorption of different metals by isolates of Aspergillus species, 2015. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences (IOSR-JPBS). 2015;10(5):01–5.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Raval NP, Shah PU, Shah NK. Adsorptive removal of nickel (II) ions from aqueous environment: a review. J Environ Manag. 2016;179:1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Romera E, González F, Ballester A, Blázquez ML, Munoz JA. Comparative study of biosorption of heavy metals using different types of algae. Bioresour Technol. 2007;98(17):3344–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Samarghandi M, Al-Musawi T, Mohseni-Bandpi A, Zarrabi M. Adsorption of cephalexin from aqueous solution using natural zeolite and zeolite coated with manganese oxide nanoparticles. J of Mo Liq. 2015;211:431–441.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Sanati M, Andersson A. DRIFT study of the oxidation and the ammoxidation of toluene over a TiO2 (B)-supported vanadia catalyst. J Mol Catal. 1993;81(1):51–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Sari A, Tuzen M. Biosorption of cadmium (II) from aqueous solution by red algae (Ceramium virgatum): equilibrium, kinetic and thermodynamic studies. J Hazard Mater. 2008;157(2–3):448–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Sulaymon AH, Mohammed AA, Al-Musawi TJ. Removal of lead, cadmium, copper, and arsenic ions using biosorption: equilibrium and kinetic studies. Desalin Water Treat. 2013;51(22–24):4424–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Sulaymon AH, Mohammed AA, Al-Musawi TJ. Comparative study of removal of cadmium (II) and chromium (III) ions from aqueous solution using low-cost biosorbent. Int J Chem React Eng. 2014;12(1):477–86.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Tariq M, Durrani AI, Farooq U, Tariq M. Efficacy of spent black tea for the removal of nitrobenzene from aqueous media. J Environ Manage. 2018;223:771–8.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Vendruscolo F, da Rocha Ferreira GL, Antoniosi Filho NR. Biosorption of hexavalent chromium by microorganisms. Int Biodeterior Biodegrad. 2017;119:87–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    WHO (World Health Organization). Guidelines for drinking-water quality, incorporating first addendum to third edition, vol 1, recommendations. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2006. p. 595.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Yu Z, Qi T, Qu J, Wang L, Chu J. Removal of Ca (II) and Mg (II) from potassium chromate solution on Amberlite IRC 748 synthetic resin by ion exchange. J Hazard Mater. 2009;167(1–3):406–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Zeraatkar AK, Ahmadzadeh H, Talebi AF, Moheimani NR, McHenry MP. Potential use of algae for heavy metal bioremediation, a critical review. J Environ Manag. 2016;181:817–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahmed A. Mohammed
    • 1
  • Aya A. Najim
    • 1
  • Tariq J. Al-Musawi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Abeer I. Alwared
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Engineering, College of EngineeringUniversity of BaghdadBaghdadIraq

Personalised recommendations