Removal of copper from contaminated waters using rhamnolipids
Keywords:rhamnolipid; contaminated water; copper; heavy metals; factorial design.
The use of rhamnolipids constitutes an attractive and eco-compatible alternative in the remediation of contaminated environments with heavy metals. In the present work, the ability of rhamnolipid produced by P. aeruginosa ORA9 to remove copper in contaminated waters of the Blue Lagoon of El Cobre, was evaluated, to control and reduce the human and environmental risk that these waters represent. The influence of the pH of the rhamnolipid solution (4-10), the contact time (2-10 hours) and the concentration of the biosurfactant (40-120 mg L-1) in the process were studied, through a factorial design Box-Bhenken. An increase in the percentage of copper removal proportional to the contact time and the concentration of the biosurfactant was observed, reaching 48 % removal at 10 h and 120 mg L-1. The results obtained indicate that rhamnolipids can be used in the design of a technology to remove copper in polluted contaminated waters.
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