, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 763-771
Date: 01 Oct 2009

Removing heavy metals from synthetic effluents using “kamikaze” Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells

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One key step of the bioremediation processes designed to clean up heavy metal contaminated environments is growing resistant cells that accumulate the heavy metals to ensure better removal through a combination of biosorption and continuous metabolic uptake after physical adsorption. Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells can easily act as cation biosorbents, but isolation of mutants that are both hyperaccumulating and tolerant to heavy metals proved extremely difficult. Instead, mutants that are hypersensitive to heavy metals due to increased and continuous uptake from the environment were considered, aiming to use such mutants to reduce the heavy metal content of contaminated waters. In this study, the heavy metal hypersensitive yeast strain pmr1∆ was investigated for the ability to remove Mn2+, Cu2+, Co2+, or Cd2+ from synthetic effluents. Due to increased metal accumulation, the mutant strain was more efficient than the wild-type in removing Mn2+, Cu2+, or Co2+ from synthetic effluents containing 1–2 mM cations, with a selectivity \( {\text{Mn}}^{{{\text{2}} + }} > {\text{Co}}^{{{\text{2}} + }} ~ > {\text{Cu}}^{{{\text{2}} + }} \) and also in removing Mn2+ and Cd2+ from synthetic effluents containing 20–50 μM cations, with a selectivity Mn2+ > Cd2+.