Pretreatment of tea fungal mat for sorption of iron from aqueous solutionSwaminathan, K., Murugesan, G. S. and Sathishkumar, M.
Microbial Biotechnology Division, Department of Biotechnology,
Bharathiar University, Coimbatore - 641 046, Tamil Nadu. India.
Ph: 0422 - 422 222
Rapid industrial revolution has resulted in the production of various chemicals, most of which are potential health hazards. A significant amount of these substances are released into the environment. Among the various types of pollutants, heavy metals such as Fe, As, Pb, Hg, Cr, Cd, etc. are of major concern. Iron exists in two valence states, Fe(II) and Fe(III). The presence of Fe(II) in water results in undesirable colour, odour, taste and growth of iron bacteria which makes water unfit for industry and domestic consumption. Higher concentration of iron adversely affects aquatic life and may induce vomiting in humans. Iron enters the natural water bodies through effluents of industries such as mining, electroplating, steel processing etc. Various technologies for the removal of heavy metals from water and wastewater exists, but recent developments in the field of environmental biotechnology have led to the search of microorganisms as sorbents of heavy metals. The present study investigates the iron adsorption capacity of the tea fungus (Medusomyces gisevii). The live fungal mat was used as sorbent and was also subjected to pretreatments. Pretreatment includes autoclaving, acid alkali and formaldehyde treatment. Results revealed that autoclaved fungal mat was more effective than other sorbents. Increase in agitation time and adsorbent dosage increased the removal of iron and it was a pH dependent process. 100% removal was observed up to 15 mg/L of iron concentration with equilibrium time of 120 min and adsorbent dosage of 1 g/50mL. Langmuir isotherm model was applied to the data obtained to determine the adsorption capacity. This study shows that biosorption is indeed a promising technique for the removal of iron.