Thorium biosorption by Aspergillus fumigatus, a filamentous fungal biomass.
ABSTRACT Thorium biosorption by Aspergillus fumigatus was carried out in a batch reactor to study the effect of initial pH and metal ion concentration, contact time, biomass dose and kinetics and equilibrium Th uptake. Thorium(IV) uptake by A. fumigatus was pH dependent (pH range, 2.0-6.0) and maximum sorption was observed at pH 4.0. The uptake was rapid and the biosorption process reached equilibrium within 2h of contact times at pH 2-4 and initial Th concentration of 50 and 100mg/L. The kinetics data fitted well to Lagergren's pseudo-second-order rate equation (r(2)>0.99). A maximum initial sorption rate of 71.94 (mg/g min) and second-order rate constant of 7.82 x 10(-2) (g/mg min) were observed at pH 4.0, 50 mg Th/L. The observed maximum uptake of thorium was 370 mg Th/g at equilibrium. Biosorption process could be well described by Langmuir isotherm in comparison to Freundlich and Temkin isotherms. Sodium bicarbonate was the most efficient desorbing reagent with desorption efficiency of more than 99%. Environmental scanning electron micrograph (ESEM) showed that the surface of the biomass after desorption was intact.