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The aim was to develop a new, efficient and cost-effective biosorbent for the removal of heavy metals from aqueous solution.A new biosorbent was developed by immobilizing a unicellular green microalga Chlorella sorokiniana within luffa sponge discs and used for the removal of metal ions from aqueous solution. Microalgal-luffa sponge immobilized discs (MLIDs) removed Ni(II) very rapidly, with 97% of equilibrium loading being reached in 5 min. MLIDs were tested for their potential to remove Ni(II) from aqueous solution in fixed-bed column bioreactor. The regenerated MLIDs retained 92·9% of the initial binding capacity for Ni(II) up to five cycles of reuse.In this study for the first time, C. sorokiniana biomass immobilized within luffa sponge disc was successfully used as a metal biosorbent for the removal of Ni(II). It appears that MLIDs can be used as an effective biosorbent for efficient removal of Ni(II) or other metals from aqueous solution.MLIDs biosorption system was shown to have good biosorption properties with respect to Ni(II). Efficient metal removal ability of MLIDs, low cost and simplicity of the technique used for the preparation of MILDs could provide an attractive strategy for developing high-affinity biosorption system for heavy metal removal.