Brown seaweed Sargassum horneri, a troublesome biomass scattered along the seashore, was utilized as a biosorbent for Pb(II) removal from aqueous solutions. The Pb(II) adsorption by brown seaweed was enhanced by pretreatment with CaCl2, and the Langmuir adsorption isotherm equation showed a maximum capacity of a Qmax of 0.696 mmol/g and ab value of 94.33 L/mmol. Results obtained from the mass-balance equation derived from the simulation model of the Langmuir adsorption isotherm suggested that the adsorption performance of brown seaweed biosorbent was sufficient to reduce the concentration of Pb(II) to meet the range of WHO guideline. The mechanism, as elucidated using pH monitoring, adsorption rate and ion exchange model, involved the rapid pH change of metal solutions that led to high reaction rate and Pb(II) uptake in the first 30 min of the biosorption process. The energy X-ray analysis's result confirmed the sharp reduction of calcium content in the biosorbent after Pb(II) adsorption. The amount of calcium ions released from the biosorbent was about 1.5 times the amount of Pb(II) adsorbed and proved the role of calcium in the ion exchange mechanism. These adsorption equilibrium and mechanistic studies provide useful information for system design and performance prediction of biosorption processes.

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