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Biosorption - Chitosan beads for the removal of Cu2+

Micropollutants have become a major environmental threat and they are under high scrutiny.  Comparatively, little is done to reduce their concentration in already contaminated effluents. Biosorption consists in using low-cost materials as adsorbents to remove microcontaminants from liquids. This project aimed at evaluating the technological potential of chitosan for the removal of a model heavy metal contaminant (Cu2+) from liquids.

Chitosan beads (diam. 3-4 mm) were produced by gelation. The adsorption isotherms for Copper were characterized for different types of beads and all followed the Langmuir model. It is a second order kinetics model that best described the Cu2+ uptake curves. Breakthrough curves were measured in a fixed bed using a 5cm column. Several adsorption-desorption cycles could be performed, which however showed significant erosion of the beads after each cycle.