Biosorption is a technique that can be used for the removal of pollutants from waters, especially those that are not easily biodegradable such as metals and dyes. A variety of biomaterials are known to bind these pollutants, including bacteria, fungi, algae, and industrial and agricultural wastes. In this review, the biosorption abilities of bacterial biomass towards dyes and metal ions are emphasized. The properties of the cell wall constituents, such as peptidoglycan, and the role of functional groups, such as carboxyl, amine and phosphonate, are discussed on the basis of their biosorption potentials. The binding mechanisms, as well as the parameters influencing the passive uptake of pollutants, are analyzed. A detailed description of isotherm and kinetic models and the importance of mechanistic modeling are presented. A systematic comparison of literature, based on the metal/dye binding capacity of bacterial biomass under different conditions, is also provided. To enhance biosorption capacity, biomass modifications through chemical methods and genetic engineering are discussed. The problems associated with microbial biosorption are analyzed, and suitable remedies discussed. For the continuous treatment of effluents, an up-flow packed column configuration is suggested and the factors influencing its performance are discussed. The present review also highlights the necessity for the examination of biosorbents within real situations, as competition between solutes and water quality may affect the biosorption performance. Thus, this article reviews the achievements and current status of biosorption technology, and hopes to provide insights into this research frontier. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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