As concerns are increasing about drinking water contamination with heavy metals, we investigated the possible use of a pellicle (floating biofilm)-like biofilm-producing microorganism as a biosorbent for the treatment of Pb(II) in aqueous solutions. The bacterial pellicle-producing Methylobacterium hispanicum
EM2 strain (EM2) was newly isolated from mine tailing soil, and we investigated its use as a biosorbent for treating a Pb(II)-contaminated aqueous solution. The EM2 strain was strongly resistant to Pb(II) up to a concentration of 800 mg/L, and achieved remarkable adsorption performance (adsorption rate and maximum adsorption capacity of 96% ± 3.2% and 79.84 mg/g, respectively) under optimal conditions (pH, biomass content, contact time, and initial Pb(II) concentration of 7.1 g/L, 60 min, and 10 mg/L, respectively). The adsorption of Pb(II) was characterized by scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy and Fourier-transform infrared analysis. The equilibrium data matched the Freundlich isotherm model well, indicating the occurrence of multilayer adsorption of Pb(II) onto the heterogeneous surface of the EM2 strain, which was also consistent with the pseudo-second-order kinetic model (R2
= 0.98). The high Pb(II) removal efficiency was also confirmed by conducting an adsorption experiment using Pb(II)-contaminated industrial wastewater.
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