The potential use of the immobilized microalgae (in Ca-alginate) of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to remove Hg(II), Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions from aqueous solutions was evaluated using bare Ca-alginate bead as a control system. Ca-alginate beads containing immobilized microalgae were incubated for the uniform growth at 22 degrees C for 5 days. Effects of pH, temperature, initial concentration of metal ions and biosorbent dosages on the adsorption of Hg(II), Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions were studied. Adsorption of Hg(II), Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions on the immobilized microalgae showed highest values at around pH 5.0 to 6.0. The adsorption equilibrium was represented with Langnmir and Freundlich adsorption isotherms. The adsorption of these ions on the immobilized microalgae followed second-order kinetics and equilibrium was established in about 60 min. The temperature change in the range of 5-40 degrees C did not affect the adsorption capacities of the immobilized microalgae. The immobilized-algal systems can be regenerated using 2 M NaCl for Hg(II), Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.