Microbial Ecology

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 303–317 | Cite as

Microorganisms and heavy metal toxicity

  • Geoffrey M. Gadd
  • Alan J. Griffiths


The environmental and microbiological factors that can influence heavy metal toxicity are discussed with a view to understanding the mechanisms of microbial metal tolerance. It is apparent that metal toxicity can be heavily influenced by environmental conditions. Binding of metals to organic materials, precipitation, complexation, and ionic interactions are all important phenomena that must be considered carefully in laboratory and field studies. It is also obvious that microbes possess a range of tolerance mechanisms, most featuring some kind of detoxification. Many of these detoxification mechanisms occur widely in the microbial world and are not only specific to microbes growing in metal-contaminated environments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey M. Gadd
    • 1
  • Alan J. Griffiths
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity College CardiffCardiff

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