The biosorption characteristics of U(VI) from aqueous solution onto a nonliving aquatic macrophyte, Hydrilla verticillata (dry powder), were investigated under various experimental conditions by using batch methods. Results showed that the adsorption reached equilibrium within 60 min and the experimental data were well fitted by the pseudo-first-order kinetic model. U(VI) adsorption was strongly pH dependent, and the optimum pH for U(VI) removal was 5.5. Isotherm adsorption data displayed good correlation with the Langmuir model, with a maximum monolayer adsorption capacity of 171.52 mg/g. Thermodynamic studies suggested that U(VI) adsorption onto H. verticillata was an exothermic and spontaneous process in nature. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy indicated that the amino and hydroxyl groups on the algal surface played an important role in U(VI) adsorption. The mechanisms responsible for U(VI) adsorption could involve electrostatic attraction and ion exchange. In conclusion, H. verticillata biomass showed good potential as an adsorption material for the removal of uranium contaminants in aqueous solution.

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