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Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
44, No. 5, 2014; Pages: 519-560

Prospects for Exploiting Bacteria for Bioremediation of Metal Pollution

Arif Tasleem Jan, Mudsser Azam, Arif Ali & Qazi Mohd



Metals being recalcitrant to biodegradation process pose a persistent threat to human health and environment. In view of increase in discharge along with improper management of persistent metal pollutants, it is imperative to develop cost-effective and efficient methods for their remediation. As contamination of soil and water has threatened the well being of humans and natural environment, microorganisms play crucial role in combating the widespread pollution of global environment. Clusters of genes coding for catabolic transformation facilitate their detoxification from the environment. Development of effective tools to facilitate environmental cleanup of metal pollutants beyond genetic confines of natural host has resulted in the expressional enhancement of promiscuous enzymes, involved in the transformation of metal compounds. A thorough understanding of microbes that express heterologous proteins for metal transformation would result in economic production and as such its application in bioremediation process. This review summarizes fundamental insights regarding metals in relation to oxidative stress, insights on metal binding proteins/peptides for immobilization, information regarding genetic engineering for enzymes involved in metal transformation, and strategies that can be employed to overcome the bottlenecks associated with microbial based remediation strategies.

Keywords: antioxidants; bacteria; bioremediation; genetic engineering; metals, oxidative stress.

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