Aerobic granules are microbial aggregates with a strong and compact structure. This study looked into the feasibility of aerobic granules as a novel type of biosorbent for the removal of individual Cd2+, Cu2+ and Zn2+ from aqueous solution. Based on the thermodynamics of biosorption reaction, a general model was developed to describe the equilibrium biosorption of individual Cd2+, Cu2+ and Zn2+ by aerobic granules. This model provides good insights into the thermodynamic mechanisms of biosorption of heavy metals. The model prediction was in good agreement with the experimental data obtained. It was further demonstrated that the Langmuir, Freundlich and Sips or Hill equations were particular cases of the proposed model. The biosorption capacity of individual Cd2+, Cu2+ and Zn2+ on aerobic granules was 172.7, 59.6 and 164.5 mgg-1, respectively. These values may imply that aerobic granules are effective biosorbent for the removal of Cd2+, Cu2+ and Zn2+ from industrial wastewater. ?? 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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