Caister Academic Press

Heavy Metals Removal by Microbial Cells

Mirosława Słaba, Katarzyna Hrynkiewicz and Geoffrey M. Gadd
from: Microbial Biodegradation: From Omics to Function and Application (Edited by: Jerzy Długoński). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 197-218.


Environmental pollution with heavy metals poses a real ecological and human-health threat due to their high toxicity to living organisms. Metals cannot be degraded. Hence, microbial removal by binding to biomass, leaching, enzymatic transformations, and changes in metal solubility and, as a consequence, in toxicity are major strategies for the remediation of metal-contaminated environments. For this reason, more knowledge on the mechanisms responsible for microbial tolerance and transformations of toxic metals are important for possible applications in environmental biotechnology. This chapter includes the results of studies on passive metal removal through biosorption and metal uptake and accumulation involving the metabolic activity of microbial cells. Selected aspects of metal-microbe interactions have been presented. Proteomic studies that were carried out to identify microbial responses to heavy metal toxicity are also described. In the second part of the review, the potential of different groups of microorganisms for remediation and enhanced phytoremediation of metal-polluted soils is discussed. Attention has also been focused on the role of microorganisms in plant protection against metal stress as well as the mechanisms related to plant-microbe associations under unfavourable soil conditions read more ...
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