Heavy metal contamination from anthropogenic activities has an adverse effect on the environment due to its cytotoxicity, carcinogenicity and mutagenicity. Environment harbours microorganisms, some of which have been found to modify physico-chemical conditions of their surrounding environment through certain processes such as detoxification, metal homeostasis, precipitation, redox transformations etc. Investigations in the past have shown that short term contact with metals of certain bacteria causes the selection of resistant bacteria within weeks, while a prolonged exposure showed selected strains able to thrive better. Hence biotic methods could assist removal of heavy metals based on biosorption or bioaccumulation by microorganisms, which are cost-effective and environmental friendly in the long run. Microbial remediation is influenced by biotic and environmental factors as also the contamination site characteristics. The aim of this paper is to highlight and review some of the mechanisms of microbial remediation through techniques such as biostimulation, bioaugmentation etc.
Heavy Metals, Biosorbents, Microbial Remediation
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