Due to their occurrence in very different conditions and high resistance to physical and chemical factors, algae are pioneers colonising new environments and their sorption properties are used in biomonitoring and water remediation. The efficiency of the process of heavy metal sorption in algae used for in situ tests depends on abiotic factors, such as the chemical composition of water. Freshwater algae Spirogyra sp. were used in tests. Algae were exposed in the laboratory in manganese chloride solutions with various contents of other cations, including heavy metals and macronutrients. It has been shown that some heavy metals may desorb manganese bound to the surface of algae as a result of ion exchange in the following sequence: Cd2+ < Mn2+ ≈ Zn2+ < Cu2+. It has been also found that the competitiveness of sorption of cations naturally present in the alga environment versus Mn2+ cations changes in the sequence Na+ < Ca2+ < H+, defined for the concentrations referring to the cation unit charge. The results of tests were compared to the results of dried sea algae Palmaria palmata analyses.
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