, Volume 46, Issue 8, pp 834-840

Heavy metal accumulation by bacteria and other microorganisms

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Bacteria, and other microorganisms, exhibit a number of metabolism-dependent and-independent processes or the uptake and accumulation of heavy metals and radionuclides. The removal of such harmful substances from effluents and waste waters by microbe-based technologies may provide an alternative or additional means of metal/radionuclide recovery for economic reasons and/or environmental protection. Both living and dead cells as well as products derived from or produced by microorganisms can be effective metal accumulators and there is evidence that some biomass-based clean-up processes are economically viable. However, many aspects of metal-microbe interactions remain unexploited in biotechnology and further development and application is necessary, particularly to the problem of radionuclide release into the environment.