A series of adsorption studies was carried out on a glycidyl methacrylate- modified cellulose material functionalised with imidazole (Cellulose-g-GMA-Imidazole) to assess its capacity in the removal of Ni(II) ions from aqueous solution. The study sought to establish the effect of a number of parameters on the removal of Ni(II) from solution by the Cellulose-g-GMA-Imidazole. In particular, the influence of initial metal concentration, contact time, solution temperature and pH were assessed. The studies indicated a Ni(II) uptake on the Cellulose-g-GMA-Imidazole sorbent of approximately 48 mg g(-1) of nickel from aqueous solution. The adsorption process fitted the Langmuir model of adsorption and the binding process was mildly endothermic. The kinetics of the adsorption process indicated that nickel uptake occurred within 400 min and that pseudo-second order kinetics best describe the overall adsorption process. Nickel(II) adsorption, recovery and re-adsorption studies indicated that at highly acidic pH values the adsorbent material becomes unstable, but in the range pH 3-6, the adsorbent is stable and shows limited but significant Ni(II) recovery and re-adsorption capability. (c) 2006 Society of Chemical Industry.