Microorganisms and heavy metal toxicity

Geoffrey M. Gadd, Alan J. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

606 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1977


  • heavy metal
  • bacterium
  • ecology
  • Precipitation
  • Toxicity
  • Microbe
  • Field Study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Soil Science


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