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Lead (II) ranks second among the top twenty hazardous substances as listed by ATSDR. It is discharged through waste water
coming from different industries viz. leather, paint, battery, ceramic, pottery etc. Due to its non-biodegradable and re-
circulating nature, lead (II) accumulates in the environment causing a serious threat to human health and ecological systems.
Thus, it is mandatory to reduce the concentration of lead (II) in waste water below permissible limit. Papain (E.C. 188.8.131.52), a
cysteine protease, has the characteristics of metal binding due to presence of four sulfhydryl groups at its active site. Though several
works have been done to analyze the performance of papain in different fields like medicinal, food etc., no work has been made
to explore its metal binding property for abatement of lead (II) from waste water. In the present work, the efficacy of immobilized
papain in removing lead (II) from simulated solution has been investigated. Papain is immobilized in calcium alginate bead
by ionotropic gelation method and termed as Alginate Immobilized Papain (AIP). Lead acetate was used to prepare simulated
solution of lead (II). The removal of lead (II) using AIP has been optimized by Response Surface Methodology (RSM) using
Design Expert Software 8.0.5 considering initial concentration of lead (II), weight of AIP and pH as input factors and percentage
removal of lead (II) as response. The optimum condition for removal as designated by software is as follows: initial concentration
of lead (II): 31 mg/L; volume of solution: 30 ml; weight of AIP: 6 g, pH: 7; temperature: 30
C. Theoretical prediction (99.37%)
matches very well with experimental value (99.29%). Maximum 99.37% removal has been obtained at optimum condition. Lead
(II) is recovered by stirring AIP-Pb complex in distilled water at different pH condition. Almost 35% metal recovery is achieved
at pH 4 from 3 g of AIP-Pb complex at room temperature. SEM and EDS study confirm the binding of lead (II) with AIP.
Soumasree Chatterjee, Senior Research Fellow sponsored by CSIR (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research), Govt. of India, is pursuing her
Ph.D at National Institute of Technology, Durgapur India. She has published 2 papers in reputed international journals and 7 proceedings in different
national and international conferences. She is also the first author of a book chapter. Her research areas are Biochemical Reaction Engineering and
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