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Chemosphere
Volume 294, 2022, 133609

Biofilm-mediated bioremediation is a powerful tool for the removal of environmental pollutants

Sandhya Mishraa,b, Yaohua Huanga,b, Jiayi Lia,b

State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Agricultural & Rural Pollution Abatement and Environmental Safety, Integrative Microbiology Research Centre, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 510642, China.

Abstract

Biofilm-mediated bioremediation is an attractive approach for the elimination of environmental pollutants, because of its wide adaptability, biomass, and excellent capacity to absorb, immobilize, or degrade contaminants. Biofilms are assemblages of individual or mixed microbial cells adhering to a living or non-living surface in an aqueous environment. Biofilm-forming microorganisms have excellent survival under exposure to harsh environmental stressors, can compete for nutrients, exhibit greater tolerance to pollutants compared to free-floating planktonic cells, and provide a protective environment for cells. Biofilm communities are thus capable of sorption and metabolization of organic pollutants and heavy metals through a well-controlled expression pattern of genes governed by quorum sensing. The involvement of quorum sensing and chemotaxis in biofilms can enhance the bioremediation kinetics with the help of signaling molecules, the transfer of genetic material, and metabolites. This review provides in-depth knowledge of the process of biofilm formation in microorganisms, their regulatory mechanisms of interaction, and their importance and application as powerful bioremediation agents in the biodegradation of environmental pollutants, including hydrocarbons, pesticides, and heavy metals.

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