Contamination caused by heavy metals as well as their toxic effects on the environment and mankind is well known. However, it has been observed that some native plants have survived within areas polluted with heavy metals. This has been the case with the woody subshrub Solanum elaeagnifolium. It is possible to take advantage of this singular feature by using its inactivated tissues as a biofiltration system. In this work we characterized the mechanism of the binding between the biomass tissues with heavy metals by using chemical modification techniques. These techniques included chemical esterification and hydrolyzation of carboxylic groups and methyl esters, respectively. These studies have shown an overall decrease in metal binding for the esterified biomass, and an overall increase in metal binding for the hydrolyzed biomass as compared with the unmodified biomass. These experiments were performed with Cu(II), Pb(II), Cr(III), Zn(II) and Ni(II). In addition, experiments conducted with modified biomass at different pH conditions were done in order to corroborate the biomass modification results. Also, we used X-ray absorption spectroscopy techniques (XANES and EXAFS) to elucidate the mechanism(s) of metal ion binding.
- Binding mechanism
- Heavy metals
- Solanum elaeagnifolium
- X-Ray absorption spectroscopy