A solid phase extraction (SPE) preconcentration system, coupled to a flame atomic absorption spectrometer (FAAS), was developed for the determination of copper(II), cadmium(II), lead(II), manganese(II), iron(HI), nickel(II) and cobalt(II) ions at the mu gL(-1) levels on Penicillium italicum - loaded on Sepabeads SP 70. The analytes were adsorbed on biosorbent at the pH range of 8.5-9.5. The adsorbed metals were eluted with 1 mol L(-1) HCl. The influences of the various analytical parameters including pH of the aqueous solutions, sample volume, flow rates were investigated for the retentions of the analyte ions. The recovery values are ranged from 95-102%. The influences of alkaline, earth alkaline and some transition metal ions were also discussed. Under the optimized conditions, the detection limits (3 s, n = 2 1) for analytes were in the range of 0.41 mu g L(-1) (cadmium) and 1.60 mu g L(-1) (iron). The standard reference materials (IAEA 336 Lichen, NIST SRM 1573a Tomato leaves) were analyzed to verify the proposed method. The method was successfully applied for the determinations of analytes in natural water, cultivated mushroom, lichen (Bryum capilare Hedw), moss (Homalothecium sericeum) and refined table salt samples. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.