Studies of chromium removal from tannery wastewaters by algae biosorbents, Spirogyra condensata and Rhizoclonium hieroglyphicum

Douglas Onyancha, Ward Mavura, J. Catherine Ngila, Peter Ongoma, Joseph Chacha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


Chromium in the effluent is a major concern for tanning industry. Chemical precipitation methods are commonly employed for the removal of chromium but this leads to formation of chrome-bearing solid waste, plus it is uneconomical when the concentration of chromium in the effluent is low. Ion exchange and membrane separation methods are relatively expensive. In this study, two algae namely, Spirogyra condensata and Rhizoclonium hieroglyphicum have been employed to remove chromium from tannery effluent. The effect of pH and chromium concentration showed S. condensata to exhibit maximum uptake of about 14 mg Cr(III)/g of algae at optimum pH of 5.0 whereas R. hieroglyphicum had 11.81 mg of Cr(III)/g of algae at pH of 4.0. Langmuir and Freundlich models were applied. Increase of initial concentration of Cr resulted to a decrease in adsorption efficiency. Dilute sulphuric acid (0.1 M) showed good desorption efficiency (>75%). Interference from cations negatively impacted on biosorption of chromium. Immobilized algae on Amberlite XAD-8 in a glass column, gave better recovery of chromium in tannery effluent compared to a batch method with unimmobilized algae. Fourier transform infra red (FT-IR) analysis of the two algae revealed the presence of carboxyl groups as possible binding sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-614
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Algae
  • Biosorption
  • Chromium
  • Tannery
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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