Background infoThe most common heavy metals being illegally disposed are copper and iron, as copper is commonly found in wires and iron is commonly found as iron or in steel alloys. Both heavy metals exhibit a density of about of 8.96 and 7.97g/cm3. The properties of algae being able to adsorb and absorb heavy metal cations makes it a suitable alternative to remove heavy metals from water bodies. The algae are also found in abundance and can be easily obtained at very low costs.
This alternative brings down the costs of removing heavy metal ions from water. The universal density that qualifies a metal to be a heavy metal is 5g/cm1. High concentrations of heavy metal are harmful to living organisms.
However, companies continue to dump waste metals, especially iron and copper metals as both are commonly used. Metal disposal into water bodies can result in a high concentration in heavy metals hence affect the ecosystem, thus the water needs to be treated. Heavy metal solids can be removed through filtration; however, the removal of the heavy metal ions is an expensive process as reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, ultrafiltration, chemical precipitation and ionic precipitation all incurs high costs.2 Removal of heavy metal cations using algae occurs through the biosorption, which is the property of certain types of inactive, dead, microbial biomass to bind and concentrate heavy metals from even very dilute aqueous solutions. Most of the metal sorption occurs within the first hour of experiment.3 The algae must not be left in the solution for an extended amount of time due to the algae releasing the metals as a result of a detoxification process.
4 From different researches, the type of algae plays a small role in the biosorption of heavy metal cations, hence it is one of the variables I will be investigating. From research, clumping tends to occur during experiments and thus affecting the cell number.