This study focused on the effects of pH and organic ligands, namely ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), and citric acids, on the removal and recovery of Cd(II) in polyclectrolyte enhanced ultrafiltration (PEUF). Polyethylenimine (PEI), which can bind with both positively charged metal ions by coordination bonding and negatively charged ligand-metal complexes by charge attraction, was employed as a chelating polymer. The removal and recovery of Cd species was greatly dependent on the chemistry of organic ligands according to solution pH, particularly being related to the distribution of Cd-ligand complexes at different pH levels. In the presence of EDTA, the dominant Cd species are negatively charged Cd(EDTA)(2-) and CdH(EDTA)(-) over the range of pH levels investigated, interacting with PEI via electrostatic attraction and being less pH dependent. On the other hand, the pH effects of both NTA and citric acid systems are similar to that for the system without organic ligands. This was associated with the fact that free Cd ions were predominant at the acidic pH range in both NTA and citric acid systems. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.