African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12291


Review of challenges in the escalation of metal-biosorbing processes for wastewater treatment: Applied and commercialized technologies

E. Fosso-Kankeu*
  • E. Fosso-Kankeu*
  • School of Chemical and Minerals Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, P.O Box 558, Potchefstroom,2520 South Africa.
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A.F. Mulaba-Bafubiandi
  • A.F. Mulaba-Bafubiandi
  • Minerals Processing and Technology Research Center School of Mining, Metallurgy and Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
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  •  Received: 24 September 2013
  •  Accepted: 14 April 2014
  •  Published: 23 April 2014


Despite the eminent consequences, wastewaters containing toxic heavy metals are still discharged in the environment without prior treatment, certainly because of the high cost associated with the effective management of these effluents. Difficulties emanated from the fact that most of the technologies available for the remediation of the pollution require high capital and operational cost, which cannot be justified for the treatment of diluted effluents. Biosorption technique for its relatively competitive cost has been immensely investigated in laboratories for remediation of heavy metals polluted effluents. This paper reviews the major progresses achieved in the field of biosorption technology since it was first introduced; enhancement of the performance of suitable biosorbents through regeneration and immobilization techniques are some of the approaches that have contributed to improve metal removal processes. Despite some few progresses, efforts devoted in the development of biosorption technology have not been translated into successful implementation everywhere, hence, the persistence of problems related to pollution of water sources by toxic heavy metals in most part of the world. Challenges hindering the commercialization of biosorption technology are clearly discussed and critical aspects related to the characteristics of waste effluents and potential of biosorbents are highlighted. Suggestions are made for consideration of hybrid technologies, carefully designed and informed by the complexity of waste effluents.


Key words: Mine waste, toxic heavy metals, biosorption technology, immobilization, desorption, hybridization of techniques, escalation of processes.