In this work, the effects of an anionic biosurfactant, rhamnolipid (RL), and pH on the adsorption and desorption of Cu(2+) ions on Na-montmorillonite were investigated. Adsorption studies were conducted through the addition of Cu(2+) to the dispersions containing pristine- and/or RL-modified clay. In the case of pristine clay, RL was also added simultaneously with the Cu(2+). The effect of pH was studied in the range between 1.0 and 8.0. The highest adsorption capacity was obtained at the pH of 4.7-4.8. Among the models including the Langmuir, Freundlich and Dubinin-Kaganer-Radushkevich isotherms; Langmuir isotherm gave a better fit to the experimental data. The most suitable fit for the adsorption kinetics of Cu(2+) was obtained with a pseudo-second-order model. It was determined that the adsorption capacity of the pristine clay is comparable with that of the activated carbon and the modification of clay with RL causes an increase in the adsorption rate due to the distribution of clay platelets in the solution. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.