ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Fungal Biomass for Cu(II) Uptake from Aqueous Systems
Claudia Maria Simonescu1,2, Mariana Ferdeş3
 
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1University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj Napoca,
Calea Mănăştur 3-5, RO-400372, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Department of Analytical Chemistry and Environmental Engineering,
Faculty of Applied Chemistry and Materials Science,
University “Politehnica” of Bucharest, Polizu Street, No. 1-7, RO-011061, Bucharest, Romania
3Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Applied Chemistry and Materials Science,
University “Politehnica” of Bucharest, Polizu Street, No. 1-7, RO-011061, Bucharest, Romania
 
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2012;21(6):1831–1839
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ABSTRACT
At present, heavy metals pollution is becoming a more and more serious problem for the environment and public health. Removal of heavy metals and metalloids from aqueous solutions is generally achieved through several processes such as chemical precipitation/neutralization, solvent extraction, ion exchange, membrane separation, reverse osmosis, or adsorption. These processes are efficient in removing the bulk of metals from solution at high or moderate concentrations. For lower metal concentrations, and in case of pollution with nanoparticles, these processes are expensive, and they are replaced by alternative methods (such as biosorption) that use different natural materials of biological origin. The objective of the present study is to investigate the use of fungal biomass as the biosorbent for the removal of Cu(II) from an aqueous solution that contains copper sulfide nanoparticles. The capacity to retain Cu(II) from aqueous suspension used is determined and compared for the following fungal strains: Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus niger, Fusarium oxysporum, and Polyporus squamosus. The results obtained show that the specific copper uptake varies between 1.66 mg/g and 7.52 mg/g. The maximum specific copper uptake value (7.52 mg/g) was obtained for the fungus strain Fusarium oxisporum MUCL 791. Analysis of the IR spectra revealed that the mechanism of the copper uptake by fungal biomass involves interactions between copper ions and hydroxyl, amino, carboxyl, and carbonyl groups from fungal biomass surface depending on the types of fungal strain. Desorption studies showed that copper recovery efficiency varied between 82 and 86% when acidic solutions were used as eluents.
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