Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 13, pp 5411–5420 | Cite as

Fabrication of biobeads expressing heavy metal-binding protein for removal of heavy metal from wastewater

  • Dipinte Gupta
  • Suresh Satpati
  • Anshuman Dixit
  • Rajiv RanjanEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


Heavy metals, being toxic in nature, are one of the most persistent problems in wastewater. Unabated discharge of large amount of heavy metals into water bodies are known to cause several environmental and health impacts. Biological remediation processes like microbial remediation and phytoremediation are proved to be very effective in the reduction of heavy metal pollutants in wastewater. To circumvent the issues involved several peptides and proteins are being explored. Metal-binding capacity, accumulation, and tolerance of heavy metals in bacteria can be upsurge by overexpressing the genes which code for metal-binding proteins. In the present study, an attempt has been made to bioremediate heavy metal toxicity by overexpressing metal-binding proteins. Two expression cassettes harboring top4 metal-binding protein (T4MBP) and human metallothionein 3 (HMP3) were designed under the control of constitutive CaMV 35S promoter and transformed into E.coli TBI cells. E.coli over expressing HMP3 and T4MBP were immobilized in biobeads which were explored for the detoxification of water contaminated with copper and cadmium. Effects on the concentration of heavy metal before and after treatment with beads were estimated with the help of ICP-OES. Noteworthy results were obtained in the case of copper with 87.2% decrease in its concentration after treatment with biobeads. Significant decrement of 32.8% and 27.3% was found in case of zinc and cadmium, respectively. Mechanisms of binding of proteins with heavy metals were further validated by molecular modeling and metal-binding analysis. HMP3 protein was found to be more efficient in metal accumulation as compared with T4MBP. The fabricated biobeads in this study definitely offer an easy and user-handy approach towards the treatment of toxic wastewater.


Biobeads Metallothionein Heavy metal toxicity Expression cassette HMP T4MBP 



We are grateful to the Director, DEI, Dayalbagh for providing infrastructure and Institute of Life Science, Bhubaneswar for Confocal facility. We sincerely acknowledge Ms. Mrinalini Prasad, Ms. Gauri Sharma, and Ms. Simran Singh for finding various literatures and actively supporting in other research activities.


This study was funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, New Delhi, for DBT-iGEM grant-2017.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal participants performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2019_9852_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (6 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Plant Biotechnology LabDayalbagh Educational Institute (Deemed University)AgraIndia
  2. 2.Institute of Life ScienceBhubaneshwarIndia

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