Toxicological Assessment of Cross-Linked Beads of Chitosan-Alginate and Aspergillus australensis Biomass, with Efficiency as Biosorbent for Copper Removal


Sorbent materials of biological origin are considered as an alternative to the use of traditional methods in order to remove heavy metals. Interest in using these materials has increased over the past years due to their low cost and friendliness to the environment. The objective of this study was to synthesize and characterize cross-linked beads made of chitosan, alginate, and mycelium of a copper-tolerant strain of Aspergillus australensis. The acute toxicity of the biocomposite beads was assessed using brine shrimp Artemia salina nauplii and the phytotoxicity was determined using lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and chili pepper 'Anaheim' (Capsicum annuum) seeds. The biosorption capacity for copper removal in simulated wastewater was also evaluated. Results showed that the biosorbent obtained had a maximal adsorption of 26.1 mg of Cu²⁺ per g of biocomposite, and removal efficiency was around 79%. The toxicity of simulated residual water after treatment with the biocomposite showed low toxicity toward seeds, which was highly dependent on the residual copper concentration. The toxicity of the biocomposite beads to A. salina was considered medium depending on the amount of the biocomposite, which was attributed to low pH. Biocomposite shows promise as biosorbent for the removal process of heavy metals.



Crosslinking (Polymerization), Biopolymers, Mycelium (Fungi), Composite materials, Copper, Adsorption


CC BY 4.0 (Attribution), ©2019 The Authors