Review Article

A Gateway to Metal Resistance: Bacterial Response to Heavy Metal Toxicity in the Biological Environment

Loai Aljerf* and Nuha AlMasri

Published: 03 September, 2018 | Volume 2 - Issue 1 | Pages: 032-044

Heavy metals and metalloids are dangerous because they have the tendency to bioaccumulate in biological organisms over a period of time. However, it is conceived that a number of phytochemical agents as well microorganism can act as heavy metal removing agent both from human beings and the environment surrounding. For instance, microbes are used for the removal of heavy metals from the water bodies including bacteria, fungi, algae and yeast. This review shows that bacteria can play an important role in understanding the uptake and potential removal behaviour of heavy metal ions. The bacteria are chosen based on their resistance to heavy metals (incl. their toxicities) and capacity of adsorbing them. Due to specific resistance transfer factors, cell impermeability is drastically inhibited by several ion (i.e. mercury, cadmium, cobalt, copper, arsenic) forms. Between these elements, free-ion cadmium and copper concentrations in the biological medium provide more accurate determination of metal concentrations that affect the bacteria, than with most of the other existing media. Metal toxicity is usually assessed by using appropriate metal ion chelators and adjusting pH factor. Bacteria and metals in the ecosystem can form synergistic or antagonistic relationships, supplying each other with nutrients or energy sources, or producing toxins to reduce growth and competition for limiting nutritional elements. Thus, this relation may present a more sustainable approach for the restoration of contaminated sources.

Read Full Article HTML DOI: 10.29328/journal.aac.1001012 Cite this Article Read Full Article PDF


Heavy metal; Phytochemical agents; Microorganism; Environment; Impermeability; Resistance transfer factors; Chelators


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