Microbial Metal Bioaccumulation
Authors: Fayaz Ahmad Malla, Navindu gupta, Shakeel A. Khan Lal Chand Malav, , Sandeep Kumar, Mahesh Kumar Malav

Size: 1.09 MB

Heavy-metal pollution represents an important environmental problem due to the toxic effects of metals, and their accumulation throughout the food chain leads to serious ecological and health problems. Metal remediation through common physico-chemical techniques is expensive and unsuitable in case of voluminous effluents containing complexing organic matter and low metal contamination. Biotechnological approaches that are designed to cover such niches have, therefore, received great deal of attention in the recent years. Biosorption studies involving low-cost and often dead/pre-treated biomass have dominated the literature and, subsequently, extensive reviews focusing on equilibrium and kinetics of metal Biosorption have also come up. However, the low binding capacity of biomass for certain recalcitrant metals such as Ni and failure to effectively remove metals from real industrial effluents due to presence of organic or inorganic ligands limit this approach. At times, when pure biosorptive metal removal is not feasible, application of a judicious consortium of growing metal-resistant cells can ensure better removal through a combination of bio precipitation, Biosorption and continuous metabolic uptake of metals after physical adsorption. Such approach may lead to simultaneous removal of toxic metals, organic loads and other inorganic impurities, as well as allow optimization through development of resistant species. However, sensitivity of living cells to extremes of pH or high metal concentration and need to furnish metabolic energy are some of the major constraints of employing growing cells for bioremediation. The efforts to meet such challenges via isolation of metal-resistant bacterial/fungal strains and exploitation of organic wastes as carbon substrates have begun. Recent studies show that the strains (bacteria, yeast and fungi) isolated from contaminated sites possesses excellent capability of metal scavenging. Some bacterial strains possess high tolerance to various metals and may be potential candidates for their simultaneous removal from wastes. Evidently, the stage has already been set for the application of metal-resistant growing microbial cells for metal harvesting. This review focuses on the applicability of growing bacterial/fungal/algal cells for metal removal and the efforts directed towards cell/process development to make this option technically/economically viable for the comprehensive treatment of metal-rich effluents.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently pursuing Ph. D in Environmental sciences from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi.