A meta-analysis of metal biosorption by suspended bacteria from three phyla

Alireza Fathollahi, Nazanin Khasteganan, Stephen J. Coupe, Alan P. Newman

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31 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


Biosorption of heavy metals by bacterial biomass has been the subject of significant research interest in last decades due to its efficiency, relatively low cost and minimal negative effects for the surrounding environment. In this meta-analysis, the biosorption efficiencies of different bacterial strains for Cu(II), Cd(II), Zn(II), Cr(III), Mn(II), Pb(II) and Ni(II) were evaluated. Optimum conditions for the biosorption process such as initial metal concentration, temperature, pH, contact time, metal type, biomass dosage and bacterial phyla, were evaluated for each heavy metal. According to the results, the efficiencies of bacterial biomass for removal of heavy metal were as follows: Cd(II) > Cr(III) > Pb(II) > Zn(II) > Cu(II) > Ni(II) > Mn(II). Firmicute phyla showed the highest overall (living and dead) biosorption efficiency for heavy metals. Living biomass of Proteobacteria had the best biosorption performance. Living bacterial biomass was significantly more efficient in biosorption of Cu(II), Zn(II) and Pb(II) than dead biomass. The maximum biosorption efficiency of bacterial strains for Cd(II), Pb(II) and Zn(II) was achieved at pH values between 6 and 7.5. High temperatures (>35°C) reduced the removal efficiencies for Cu(II) and Zn(II) and increased the efficiencies for Cd(II) and Cr(III) ions. The maximum biosorption efficiency of non-essential heavy metals occurred with short contact times (<2 hours). Essential metals such as Zn and Cu were more efficiently removed with long biosorption durations (>24 hours). The mean biosorption capacity of bacterial biomass was between 71.26 and 125.88 mg g-1. No publication bias existed according to Egger’s and Begg’s test results.
Original languageEnglish
Article number129290
Number of pages18
Early online date11 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

©2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).Chemosphere 268 (2021) 129290


European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant No 765057


  • Bacteria
  • Heavy metal
  • Meta-analysis
  • R software
  • Revman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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