The biosorption of lead(II), cadmium(II) and nickel(II) ions from aqueous solution by Spirulina platensis was studied as a function of time, concentration, temperature, repetitive reactivity, and ionic competition. The kinetic results obeyed well the pseudo second-order model. Freundlich, Dubinin Radushkevich and Temkin isotherm models were applied in describing the equilibrium partition of the ions. Freundlich isotherm was applied to describe the design of a single-stage batch sorption system. According to the thermodynamic parameters such as Delta G degrees, Delta H degrees and Delta S degrees calculated, the sorption process was endothermic and largely driven towards the products. Sorption activities in a three metal ion system were studied which indicated that there is a relative selectivity of the biosorbent towards Pb2+ ions. The measurements of the repetitive reusability of S. platensis indicated a large capacity towards the three metal ions. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.