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Bioremoval of Cadmium, Mercury, Nickel and Zinc from Leachate Sample Collected from Refuse Dump on Obiri Ikwerre / Air Port Link Road Using Living Cells of Aspegillus Niger and Rhizopus Stolonifer

Author Affiliations

  • 1 Rexall Research Services, Port Harcourt, NIGERIA
  • 2 Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, University of Port Harcourt, P.M.B 5323, Choba, Port Harcourt, NIGERIA
  • 3 Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, NIGERIA

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 2, Issue (11), Pages 1-8, November,22 (2013)


Bioremoval of heavy metals from leachate sample collected from refused dump on Obiri Ikwerre / Air port link road was studied. Five treatment options were set up. These include Natural process (positive control), poisoned and filtered sample (negative control), Aspergillus niger, Rhizopus stolonifer and a mixed culture of the above microorganisms. The experiment was conducted at ambient temperature (30 ± 2C and pH range of 6.8 to 8.9 and incubated for 60days. Physicochemical analyses of the leachate on day zero revealed the presence of Cadmium (1.74mg/l), Mercury (0.91mg/l), Nickel (2.6mg/l) and Zinc (4.52mg/l) and was found to be relatively high in relation to WHO environmental standards. At the end of 60 days, the various treatment options (Natural process(positive control), poisoned and filtered sample(negative control), Rhizopus stolonifer, Aspergillus niger, and a mixed culture of the above microorganisms) were able to bioaccumulate 69.4%, 2.9%, 53.3%, 48.1% and 49% of Cadmium; 47.1%, 1.0%, 38.2%, 52.7% and 35.4% of Nickel; 63.7%, 1.2%, 48.6%, 49.8% and 72.4% of Zinc respectively. Mercury was bioremoved by only Positive Control, Rhizopus stolonifer and the mixed culture (2.1%, 2.8% and 2.3%). However, not all the heavy metal recovered from the sample was bioconcentrated. Aspergillus niger, Rhizopus stolonifer and the mixed culture bioconcentrated 33%, 22.1% and 41% of Cadmium; 22%, 18% and 28% of Nickel; and 40.7%, 32.9% and 58% of Zinc. None of the treatment options bioconcentrated Mercury. Analysis of variance of the variables (various treatment options) showed that Natural process (positive control), Aspergillus niger and the mixed culture showed significant difference (P<0.05) with time while there was no significant difference (P0.05) for poisoned and filtered sample (negative control), and Rhizopus stolonife. This study has demonstrated the great potential of the above listed microorganisms to clean-up Cadmium, Nickel and Zinc impacted environment and can be employed in treatment of environments polluted with high levels of these metals.


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