Abstract

The biosorption of Pb(II) ions from aqueous solution has been studied using both the intact and thermolyzed cells of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Further, the role of the major cell wall components, namely DNA, protein, polysaccharide, and lipid, in Pb(II) binding has been assessed using an enzymatic treatment method. The Pb(II) bioremediation capability of P. aeruginosa cells has been investigated by varying the parameters of pH, time of interaction, amount of biomass, and concentration of Pb(II). The complete bioremoval of Pb(II) using intact cells has been achieved for an initial Pb(II) concentration of 12.4 mg L−1 at pH 6.2 and temperature 29 ± 1 °C. The biosorption isotherm follows Langmuirian behavior with a Gibbs free energy of −30.7 kJ mol−1, indicative of chemisorption. The biosorption kinetics is consistent with a pseudo-second-order model. The possible Pb(II) binding mechanisms of P. aeruginosa cells are discussed based on characterization using zeta potential measurements, Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy, and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The results confirm that among the major cell wall components studied, polysaccharide shows the highest contribution towards Pb(II) binding, followed by DNA, lipid, and protein. Similar studies using thermolyzed cells show higher Pb(II) uptake compared to the intact cells both before and after enzymatic treatment.

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