South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
MOORE, B.A.; MACK, C.; DUNCAN, J.R. and BURGESS, J.E.. Metal-biomass interactions: a comparison of visualisation techniques available in South Africa. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2009, vol.105, n.3-4, pp.115-119. ISSN 1996-7489.
The interaction of metals and biological materials is of interest for reasons such as metal recovery, toxicity and production of high-value products such as gold and platinum nanoparticles. Understanding the way in which metals interact with the biomass surface and intracellular components provides insights into the biosorption and bioaccumulation processes and increases the potential for process optimisation. Three technologies are available for the qualitative visualisation of metal-biomass interactions in South Africa, namely, micro-PIXE, transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive analysis of X-rays. Each technique provides unique information and has specific shortcomings which should be taken into account when selecting the appropriate technology. This paper focuses on evaluating the various techniques.
Keywords : bioaccumulation; biosorption; visualisation; TEM; SEM-EDAX; micro-PIXE.