Bioremediation for Environmental Pollutants

Microbial Remediation of Heavy Metals

Author(s): R. Gayathri, J. Ranjitha and V. Shankar *

Pp: 1-41 (41)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815123494123010003

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Chemical elements with an atomic mass unit ranging from 63.5 – 200.6 (relative atomic mass) and a relative density exceeding 5.0 are generally termed as heavy metals. Since they are non-biodegradable inorganic contaminants, physical and chemical methods of degradation are ineffective. Heavy metals cannot be degraded easily due to their physical and chemical properties, such as the rate of oxidation & reduction reactions, rate of solubility, formation of complexes with other metal ions, etc. They are flexible, and easily accumulated in the environment. In the case of bioaccumulation, they are highly lethal to the organisms. The process of removal of toxic and hazardous material from the environment using plants and microorganisms is termed bioremediation. The disposal of toxic contaminants using plants is termed phytoremediation. Microbial bioremediation consists of the removal of toxic elements with the application of microorganisms during which the toxic substance is converted into either end products or nontoxic and non-hazardous forms or recovery of metals. 

Keywords: Bioremediation, By-products, Hazardous, Heavy metals, Microbe.

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