Biological matter is known for its ability to biosorb solubilised heavy metal ions to its surface. Experiments were therefore conducted to assess the biosorptive capacity of two waste products of the wastewater treatment industry ie., waste activated and waste digested sludge. Surface charge of each was determined in order to relate electronegativity with biosorptive potential. Activated sludge was found to be more effective than digested sludge for removal of zinc from a metal plating effluent, viz., 5.9 mg Zn/(g sludge)−1 as opposed to 4.0 mg/g, respectively, as well as producing a higher net negative charge. It was also noted that as initial zinc concentrations in solution increased there was a concomitant increase in sludge biosorption capacity. Activated and digested sludges were capable of biosorbing zinc from a metal plating effluent although activated sludge showed better potential for industrial application.

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