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  • 1 Instituto de Radioproteção e Dosimetria, IRD/SEANA Av. Salvador Allende s/n — Jacarepaguá Rio de Janeiro — RJ Brasil
  • 2 Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Química Departamento de Tecnologia de Processos Bioquímicos, Laboratório de Bioprocessos, Pavilhão Haroldo Lisboa da Cunha R. São Francisco Xavier 524, Sala 427 Rio de Janeiro - RJ Brasil
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Abstract  

The biosorption of uranium by the seaweed Sargassum filipendula was investigated under dynamic conditions at various bed heights. Our results indicate that a bed height of 40.0 cm (111.9 g biomass) was the most efficient for long-term operation of the continuous system. Our results also indicate that the effluent solutions produced are in accordance with Brazilian legislation for safe discharge of uranium in aqueous streams. The efficiency of the process increased with an increase in bed height from 5.0 to 40.0 cm due to changes in the transfer zone. In treatment of a real effluent contaminated with uranium, stable heavy metals and essential metals, 64% of the uranium was biosorbed, as well as the stable heavy metals chromium, lead and barium. The essential metals calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese were not biosorbed by the seaweed, in fact, their concentrations in the solution increased due to ion-exchange mechanisms with the constituent polysaccharides of the biomass. Another important result was the 85–87% reduction of mass obtained after drying and calcination of the biomass. This is a relevant indication that long-term storage of biomass loaded with radionuclides and heavy metals is possible after concentration of the contaminants. In the present work, the reduction in total mass of the loaded biomass was considerable, thus facilitating storage of the contaminated seaweed.