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Abstract

This study was undertaken to determine the effectiveness of biosurfactants - saponin, tannin and rhamnolipids JBR 515 and 425, for the removal of cadmium, zinc and copper from activated sludge immobilized in 1.5% sodium alginate with 0.5% polyvinyl alcohol. We also established the impact of pH value on biosorbent regeneration with the analyzed biosurfactants and determined the critical micelle concentration (CMC) in solutions containing the biosorbent and biosurfactant and in exact samples with heavy metals. Saponin exhibited the highest effectiveness of metals leaching at pH 1-5, and rhamnosides at pH 5-6. In addition, the study demonstrated a significant effect of the ratio of biosorbent mass to washing agent volume (m/V) on the effectiveness of metals leaching. Of the biosurfactants analyzed, saponin was ca. 100% effective in leaching zinc and copper. The effectiveness of the other biosurfactants was lower and depended on the metal being leached
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