IWA Publishing

Removal of cadmium and zinc from contaminated wastewater using Rhodobacter sphaeroides

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Rhodobacter sphaeroides was used for bioremediation of wastewater polluted with cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn). The tolerance of the microorganism to selected heavy metals (HMs), as well as the effects of pH, temperature and inoculum size on the removal rate, was investigated. The remediation effects of R. sphaeroides were analysed at different initial concentrations of HMs. Bioremediation mechanisms were thoroughly discussed based on the results from the cell characterisation analysis. Cd and Zn could inhibit the growth of R. sphaeroides. However, Cd was more toxic than Zn, with corresponding EC50 values of 5.34 and 69.79 mg L−1. Temperature and pH had greater influence on the removal rate of HMs than inoculum size. The optimal conditions for temperature and pH were 35 °C–40 °C and pH 7, respectively. Initial concentration of HMs and remediation time also affected the removal rate. Rhodobacter sphaeroides had a relatively higher remediation effect under the present experimental conditions. The removal rates for Cd and Zn reached 97.92% and 97.76%, respectively. Results showed that biosorption and HM precipitation were the main bioremediation mechanisms. This information is necessary to better understand the removal mechanism of R. sphaeroides, and is significant for its pilot test and future practical application.

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