Deploying a metal adsorbent in situ: a technique for indicating bioavailable Cd(II) in marine waters

S. Solbrå, N. Allison, J. Skei, S. Waite, Sergey Mikhalovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports a study into the deployment of a metal adsorbent in situ to estimate bioavailable Cd(II) in marine waters. Eight adsorbents were screened in the laboratory to test their ability to accumulate Cd(II) from deionised water and artificial seawater, and an oxidised activated carbon was selected for further investigation. The adsorption isotherm at Cd(II) concentrations 0.16–38 μg l−1 and at salinity 15 followed the Freundlich equation. The adsorbent was contained in nylon bags (pore size 35 μm) and dialysis tubes (membrane pore size 2 nm) to produce deployable devices and to investigate the effect of housing material on Cd(II) accumulation. The devices were tested in the laboratory and deployed at four field sites for up to 3 weeks. The adsorbent in the nylon bags reached equilibrium towards the end of this period and the measured contents were in good agreement with expected contents predicted from known seawater Cd(II) concentrations and the adsorption isotherm. The dialysis tubes accumulated significantly lower amounts of Cd(II) than the nylon bags, probably due to an initial lag as Cd(II) diffused into the dialysis bag and due to biofouling which reduced diffusion. The relationship between concentrations of Cd(II) accumulated by the mussels (indicating the bioavailable Cd(II) fraction) and the devices at different field sites could be described by the Freundlich model. The goodness of fit of this relationship was better for the dialysis tubes than the nylon bags. The adsorbent in the nylon bags may have collected small particles from seawater which affected the Cd(II) analysis. Both devices demonstrate potential as indicators of the relative bioavailable fraction of Cd(II) to Mytilus edulis in marine waters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1586-1594
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • Bioaccumulation
  • Cd(II)
  • Carbon
  • Mytilus edulis
  • Adsorbent


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