The study was aimed at determining the effect of chemical pretreatment on copper(II) biosorption by Marrubium globosum subsp. globosum leaves. The uptake capacity of the biomass was increased by chemical pretreatment when compared with the raw biomass. The results of biosorption experiments, carried out at the conditions of 50 mg l(-1) initial metal concentration and pH 5.5, showed that pretreating the biomass with alkali solutions (laundry detergent, sodium hydroxide and sodium bicarbonate, 0.5 M) improved the biosorption capacity of biomass (45.90, 45.78 and 43.91%, respectively) compared with raw biomass. Pretreatment with sulfuric and nitric acid solutions, 0.5M, increased the biosorption capacity of biomass by 11.82 and 10.18%, respectively, while there was no considerable change in the biosorption capacity of biomass (0.35%) after pretreatment with formic acid solution, 0.5 M. Furthermore, sodium chloride and calcium chloride, 0.5 M, pretreatments resulted in the improvement in biosorption capacity of biomass (31.38 and 26.69%, respectively). FT-IR analysis revealed that hydroxyl and carboxyl functional groups were mainly responsible for copper(II) biosorption. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.