Phanerochaete chrysosporium basidiospores immobilized onto carboxymethylcellulose were used for the removal of mercury ions from aqueous solutions. The biosorption of Hg(II) ions onto carboxymethylcellulose and both immobilized live and heat-inactivated fungal mycelia of Phanerochaete chrysosporium was studied using aqueous solutions in the concentration range 30-700 mg l(-1). The biosorption of Hg(II) ions by the carboxymethylcellulose and both live and heat-inactivated immobilized preparations increased as the initial concentration of mercury ions increased in the medium. Maximum biosorption capacity for immobilized live and heat-inactivated fungal mycelia of Phanerochaete chrysosporium was found to be 83.10 and 102.15 mg Hg(II) g(-1), respectively, whereas the amount of Hg(II) ions adsorbed onto the plain carboxymethylcellulose beads was 39.42 mg g(-1). Biosorption equilibria were established in approximately 1 h and the correlation regression coefficients show that the adsorption process can be well defined by a Langmuir equation. Temperature changes between 15 and 45 C did not affect the biosorption capacity. The effect of pH was also investigated and the maximum adsorption of Hg(II) ions onto the carboxymethylcellulose and both live and heat-inactivated immobilized fungal mycelia was observed at pH 6.0. The carboxymethylcellulose-fungus beads could be regenerated using 10 mM HCl, with up to 95% recovery. The biosorbents were used in three biosorption-desorption cycles and no significant loss in the biosorption capacity was observed. (C)2002 Elsevier Science B.V All rights reserved.