Key Laboratory of Jiangxi Province for Persistent Pollutants Control and Resources Recycle, Nanchang Hangkong University, Nanchang 330063, PR China; National-Local Joint Engineering Research Center of Heavy Metals Pollutants Control and Resources Utilization, Nanchang Hangkong University, Nanchang 330063, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
Plant-derived materials as environmentally friendly biosorbents to remove heavy metals from wastewater have been extensively studied. However, the chemical oxygen demand (COD) increase caused by the plant-derived biosorbent has not been considered previously. In this study, water hyacinth was used as biosorbent to remove Cd(II) from wastewater. About 66% of Cd(II) was removed by the biosorbent with a maximum biosorption capacity (qmax) of 21.6 mg g-1. However, the COD of the filtrate increased from 0 to 292 mg L-1 during this process. Subsequently, endophytes, microalgae and the microalgae-endophyte symbiotic system (MESS) were assessed for the simultaneous Cd(II) and COD removal. Among these three systems, the MESS achieved the best performance. After 3 d of inoculation, the extent of total Cd(II) removal increased to 99.2% while COD decreased to 77 mg L-1. This study provides a new insight into the application of a plant-derived biosorbent in combination with microalgae and endophytes for the effective treatment of heavy metal-bearing wastewater.