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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1504; doi:10.3390/ijerph14121504

Microbial and Plant-Assisted Bioremediation of Heavy Metal Polluted Environments: A Review

Food Security and Safety Niche Area, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Private Mail Bag X2046, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa
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Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 30 November 2017 / Published: 4 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remediation and Analysis of Soil, Air, and Water Pollution)
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Abstract

Environmental pollution from hazardous waste materials, organic pollutants and heavy metals, has adversely affected the natural ecosystem to the detriment of man. These pollutants arise from anthropogenic sources as well as natural disasters such as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions. Toxic metals could accumulate in agricultural soils and get into the food chain, thereby becoming a major threat to food security. Conventional and physical methods are expensive and not effective in areas with low metal toxicity. Bioremediation is therefore an eco-friendly and efficient method of reclaiming environments contaminated with heavy metals by making use of the inherent biological mechanisms of microorganisms and plants to eradicate hazardous contaminants. This review discusses the toxic effects of heavy metal pollution and the mechanisms used by microbes and plants for environmental remediation. It also emphasized the importance of modern biotechnological techniques and approaches in improving the ability of microbial enzymes to effectively degrade heavy metals at a faster rate, highlighting recent advances in microbial bioremediation and phytoremediation for the removal of heavy metals from the environment as well as future prospects and limitations. However, strict adherence to biosafety regulations must be followed in the use of biotechnological methods to ensure safety of the environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropogenic sources; environmental pollution; genetically engineered organisms; heavy metals; microbial remediation; phytoremediation anthropogenic sources; environmental pollution; genetically engineered organisms; heavy metals; microbial remediation; phytoremediation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ojuederie, O.B.; Babalola, O.O. Microbial and Plant-Assisted Bioremediation of Heavy Metal Polluted Environments: A Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1504.

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