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Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Soil Biology
39, No. xx, 2014; Pages: 215-227

Heavy Metal Bioremediation and Nanoparticle Synthesis by Metallophiles

Arvind Sinha, Rajeshwari Sinha, Sunil K. Khare

Enzyme and Microbial Biochemistry Lab, Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi, 110016, India.


Metallophiles are a group of extremophiles which are resistant to high concentration of metals. These microbes inherently possess properties that can influence the biomineralization processes by changing the physicochemical behaviour of the surrounding, metal speciation, mobility and toxicity. Metallophiles possess an endogenous ability to exquisitely regulate their physiology to overcome the toxic effect of the external metal environment and hence perceived to be excellent bioresource for different biotechnological applications. Their biotechnological applications in different bioprocesses have been quite promising. Recent studies have shown that in combination with bioremediation and biomineralization, these metallophiles can be harnessed to convert environmentally problematic metals into ‘high-end’ important and functional metallic materials. The current chapter describes some of the novel metallophilic microbes and their potential usages in bioremediation of problematic heavy metals from the environment and nanoparticle synthesis. The current level of understanding about metal–microbe interaction and plausible mechanism of metal bioremediation and nanoparticle biosynthesis have also been comprehended in this chapter.

Keywords: bioremediation and biomineralization; metal–microbe interaction; nanoparticle synthesis; biotechnological applications.

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