, Volume 46, Issue 8, pp 834–840 | Cite as

Heavy metal accumulation by bacteria and other microorganisms

  • G. M. Gadd


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.

Key words

Heavy metals radionuclides microorganisms bacteria algae fungi yeasts uptake accumulation biosorption 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. M. Gadd
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of DundeeDundeeUK

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