Biosorption of uranium(VI) from aqueous solution by biomass of brown algae Laminaria japonica

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The uranium(VI) adsorption efficiency of non-living biomass of brown algae was evaluated in various adsorption experimental conditions. Several different sizes of biomass were prepared using pretreatment and surface-modification steps. The kinetics of uranium uptake were mainly dependent on the particle size of the prepared Laminaria japonica biosorbent. The optimal particle size, contact time, and injection amount for the stable operation of the wastewater treatment process were determined. Spectroscopic analyses showed that uranium was adsorbed in the porous inside structure of the biosorbent. The ionic diffusivity in the biomass was the dominant rate-limiting factor; therefore, the adsorption rate was significantly increased with decrease of particle size. From the results of comparative experiments using the biosorbents and other chemical adsorbents/precipitants, such as activated carbons, zeolites, and limes, it was demonstrated that the brown algae biosorbent could replace the conventional chemicals for uranium removal. As a post-treatment for the final solid waste reduction, the ignition treatment could significantly reduce the weight of waste biosorbents. In conclusion, the brown algae biosorbent is shown to be a favorable adsorbent for uranium(VI) removal from radioactive wastewater.

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