Species of the brown algae Sargassum have been targeted for use in the implementation of strategies to remediate toxic heavy metal contamination in effluents and drinking waters. This work focusses on some of the intrinsic physico-chemical properties of the algal material and aspects of the sorption mechanism, in particular: their maximal metal uptake, the influence of particle size and their resilience to leaching during equilibrium batch experiments. In addition to S. fluitans, the database on cadmium uptake capacities by Sargassum is extended to include S. thunbergii and S. oligocystum, and these are compared to those of two common brown algae. Results of our experiments demonstrate that cadmium sorption is independent of the range of particle sizes investigated (<2 and 3–6 mm), thereby indicating that sorption is not a function of the specific surface area of the biomass exposed to the solution. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) analyses reveal that leaching to the cadmium solutions during the metal sorption reaction is independent of the biomass preparations used to obtain the two size fractions but decreases with increasing final cadmium concentration.

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