The biosorption of mercury by permeable pavement biofilms in stormwater attenuation

Fathollahi, Alireza and Coupe, Stephen J. and El-Sheikh, Amjad H. and Sañudo-Fontaneda, Luis A. (2020) The biosorption of mercury by permeable pavement biofilms in stormwater attenuation. Science of the Total Environment, 741. 140411. ISSN 1879-1026 (

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This study reports on the evaluation of the equilibrium, thermodynamics and kinetics of mercury (II) biosorption using a living biofilm, developed on a nonwoven polypropylene and polyethylene geotextile, typically used within the structure of Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) devices. Batch biosorption assays were carried out with variables such as pH, initial concentrations, contact time, temperature and biofilm incubation time. Langmuir, Freundlich and Dubinin Radushkevich (D-R) models were applied to the equilibrium data which revealed the maximum biosorption capacities and efficiencies at pH 5.5 with a contact time of 120 min at 25 °C. With 20 mg L-1 added Hg (II), living biofilm samples with incubation times of 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days, biosorption values were 101.31 (55.72%), 24.41 (67.12%), 16.81 (61.37%), 9.70 (62.57%) and 13.34 (65.38%) mg g-1, respectively. Free mean biosorption energy from the D-R model was between 2.24 and 2.36 kJ mol-1 for all biofilm development incubation times, that revealed the physical biosorption mechanism for Hg(II). The thermodynamic studies showed that the Hg(II) biosorption of living biofilm was thermodynamically feasible and had a spontaneous and exothermic nature. Kinetic parameters revealed that Hg(II) biosorption onto living biofilm had a good correlation with a pseudo second-order kinetic model. FTIR spectra after biosorption suggested that amine, hydroxyl and carboxyl groups were the main functional groups available and responsible for Hg(II) biosorption onto living biofilm. Experimental data suggested that a living biofilm developed on a nonwoven polypropylene and polyethylene geotextile can be efficient in the removal of mercury ions from contaminated urban and industrial runoff.