, Volume 249, Issue 1, pp 139-156

Chromium in the environment: factors affecting biological remediation

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Chromium, in the trivalent form (Cr(III)), is an important component of a balanced human and animal diet and its deficiency causes disturbance to the glucose and lipids metabolism in humans and animals. In contrast, hexavalent Cr (Cr(VI)) is highly toxic carcinogen and may cause death to animals and humans if ingested in large doses. Recently, concern about Cr as an environmental pollutant has been escalating due to its build up to toxic levels in the environment as a result of various industrial and agricultural activities. In this review, we present the state of knowledge about chromium mobility and distribution in the environment and the physiological responses of plants to Cr with the desire to understand how these processes influence our ability to use low cost, environmentally friendly biological remediation technologies to clean up Cr-contaminated soils, sediments, and waters. The use of biological remediation technologies such as bioremediation and phytoremediation for the cleanup of Cr-contaminated areas has received increasing interest from researchers worldwide. Several methods have been suggested and experimentally tested with varying degrees of success.