Adsorption of heavy metals (Cu, Mn, Fe and Ni) from surface water using Oreochromis niloticus scales

Document Type: Original Research Paper


Department of Chemistry, College of Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana


Surface water contains a large number of pollutants, particularly human pathogens, organic toxicants and heavy metals. Due to the toxic nature of heavy metals towards marine organisms, its removal from the environment has been a growing issue. The biosorption of heavy metal ions from surface water using fish scales has emerged as an environmentally friendly technique. This study assessed the degree of heavy metals accumulation in the scales of Oreochromis niloticus and determining its efficiency as a bioindicator for Cu, Mn and Fe ions removal in the environment of Wewe and Owabi rivers. This study shows that the levels of Cu, Mn, Fe adsorbed from the Owabi river were 685.70 ± 16.51, 247.06 ± 50.46 and 892.90 ± 96.29 mg/kg, respectively. Moreover, the levels of Cu, Mn and Fe adsorbed from Wewe river were 501.60 ± 77.78, 300.89 ± 54.61     and 413.04 ± 9.92 mg/kg, respectively. Under best optimum adsorption conditions, Cu was the best removed heavy metal ions in both surface water reservoirs. Multivariate analysis showed that Cu and Mn showed association in Owabi river, while Mn and Fe were correlated in Wewe river signifying their similarities to a common anthropogenic activity. The Fourier–transform infrared spectrum revealed the existence of a nitro, amine, and carbonyl groups in the biosorption process. This study highlighted that Oreochromis niloticus scales was an efficient bio–sorbent in removing Cu, Mn and Fe ions from Owabi and Wewe rivers.      


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