BIOREMEDIATION STUDIES ON REDUCTION OF HEAVY METALS TOXICITYD. SIVAKUMAR, A.N. KANDASWAMY, V. GOMATHI, R. RAJESHWARAN AND N. MURUGAN
Heavy metals contamination of soil-water-plant ecosystems are one of the most important environmental and health problems throughout the world. Earlier, the ability of heavy metals to accumulate and cause toxicity in biological system, viz., human, animals, microorganisms and plants have been reported by various research workers. Recent approaches to increasing remediation of heavy metals include adsorption (dead microbial and renewable agricultural biomass), phytoaccumulation (plants), dendroremediation (growing trees in polluted soils), biostimutation, (stimulating living microbial population), rhizoremediation (plant and microbe), mycoremediation (stimulating living fungi/mycelial ultra-filtration), cyanoremediation (stimulating algal mass for remediation) and genoremediation (stimulating gene for remediation process). The adequate protection and restoration of the soil-water-plant ecosystems, therefore, require multipronged approaches for the conservation of the environment including recent biotechnological advances along with treasures of traditional wisdom to scientists unravel the mystery of nature in the emerging field of bioremediation in order to conserve the quality of the environment. This review provides better understanding of the problems associated with the toxicity of heavy metals to the biological systems including human beings, the recent biotechnological approaches being employed to minimize the health hazards through the detoxification mechanisms of heavy metals in the biological systems; and the challenges involved in adopting the new initiatives.
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