Immobilization of mercury using high-phosphate culture-modified microalgae

Rong Huang, Guangcheng Huo, Shaoxian Song, Yinta Li, Ling Xia*, Jean Francois Gaillard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This study developed a novel Hg(II) immobilization strategy by firstly incubating algal cells in high-phosphate cultures for surface modification, followed by obtaining the P-rich biomass as adsorbents for enhanced Hg(II) removal and then charring the Hg-loaded biomass to prevent leaching of phosphate and to immobilize Hg(II). For algal surface modification, Scenedesmus obtusus XJ-15 were cultivated under different P concentrations and obtained the highest sites concentration of surface phosphoryl functional groups in 80 mg L−1 P cultures. For Hg(II) adsorption, biomass from 80 mg L−1 P cultures (B-80) achieved the highest saturated sorption capacity of 95 mg g−1 fitting to Langmuir isotherm model under the optimum pH of 5.0. For charring stabilization, the Hg-loaded B-80 was calcinated under different temperatures, and the product obtained from 300 °C charring showed the lowest Hg(II) leaching rate without P release. Moreover, FT-IR and XPS analysis indicate that the surge of surface phosphoryl functional groups dominated the enhancement of Hg(II) sorption and also Hg(II) charring immobilization. The above results suggested that the developed strategy is promising for both phosphate and mercury removal from water and for co-immobilization of P and Hg(II) to prevent leaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112966
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Adsorption
  • Hg(II) immobilization
  • Microalgae
  • Phosphate removal
  • Surface modification
  • Surface phosphoryl functional group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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