Negligible effect of potentially toxic elements and rare earth elements on mercury removal from contaminated waters by green, brown and red living marine macroalgae


Mercury (Hg) removal by six different living marine macroalgae, namely, Ulva intestinalis, Ulva lactuca, Fucus spiralis, Fucus vesiculosus, Gracilaria sp., and Osmundea pinnatifida was investigated in mono and multi-contamination scenarios. All macroalgae were tested under the same experimental conditions, evaluating the competition effects with all elements at the same initial molar concentration of 1 mu mol dm(-3). The presence of the main potentially toxic elements (Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, and Pb) and rare earth elements (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Eu, Gd, Tb, and Y) has not affected the removal of Hg. Characterizations of the macroalgae by FTIR before and after the biosorption/bioaccumulation assays suggest that Hg wasmainly linked to sulfur-functional groups, while the removal of other elementswas relatedwith other functional groups. Themechanisms involved point to biosorption of Hg on themacroalgae surface followed by possible incorporation of thismetal into themacroalgae bymetabolically active processes. Globally, the green macroalgae (Ulva intestinalis, Ulva lactuca) showed the best performances for Hg, potential toxic elements and rare earth elements removal from synthetic seawater spiked with 1 mu mol dm(-3) of each element, at room temperature and pH 8.5. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



subject category

Environmental Sciences & Ecology


Fabre, E; Dias, M; Costa, M; Henriques, B; Vale, C; Lopes, CB; Pinheiro-Torres, J; Silva, CM; Pereira, E

our authors


This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECOAveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 & UIDP/50011/2020, financed by national funds through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology/MCTES. E. Fabre acknowledges the financial support of CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico), Brazil. Bruno Henriques and Claudia B. Lopes benefited from a Research position funded by national funds (OE), through FCT -Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia, I.P., in the scope of the framework contract foreseen in the numbers 4, 5 and 6 of the article 23, of the Decree-Law57/2016, of August 29, changed by Law 57/2017, of July 19. Thanks are also due the financial support to REQUIMTE and CESAM (UIDB/50006/2020 and UIDB/50017/2020+UIDP/50017/2020, respectively), to FCT/MEC through national funds, and the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020 and due to N9VE company for their cooperation in this work.

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