Heavy Metal Pollutants: Environmental and Biotechnological Aspects

Geoffrey Gadd (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

    43 Citations (Scopus)


    Microorganisms play important roles in the environmental fate of toxic metals, metalloids, and radionuclides with physicochemical and biological mechanisms mediating transformations between soluble and insoluble phases. Such mechanisms are important components of natural biogeochemical cycles for metals and associated elements, for example, S and P, with some processes relevant to the treatment of contaminated materials. Metal mobilization can be achieved by chemolithotrophic (autotrophic) and chemoorganotrophic (heterotrophic) leaching, complexation by metabolites and siderophores, and methylation. Immobilization can result from sorption to cell components or exopolymers, transport and intracellular sequestration, or precipitation as organic and inorganic compounds, for example, oxalates, sulfides, or phosphates. In addition, microbial reduction of higher valency species may effect either mobilization, for example, Mn(IV) to Mn(II), or immobilization, for example, Cr(VI) to Cr(III); U(VI) to U(IV). For bioremediation, solubilization of metal contaminants provides a means for removal from solid matrices, such as soils and industrial wastes. Alternatively, immobilization processes enable metals to be transformed in situ and in bioreactors into insoluble, chemically inert forms. Biotechnological development of microbial systems may provide an alternative or adjunct to conventional physicochemical treatment methods for contaminated effluents and wastewaters.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Microbiology
    EditorsMoselio Schaechter
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherAcademic Press
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Print)9780123739445
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • γ-Glu-Cys
    • γ-glutamyl-cysteinyl
    • DMSe
    • dimethyl selenide
    • EPS
    • extracellular polymeric substances
    • SRB
    • sulfate-reducing bacteria


    Dive into the research topics of 'Heavy Metal Pollutants: Environmental and Biotechnological Aspects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this