Chapter 8 : Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides

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This chapter provides an overview of metal-microbe interactions and describes how they could be harnessed to clean up metal-contaminated water, soil, and land. Biosorption of metals has been reviewed extensively, and this chapter notes only some salient points and recent developments of interest. Biosensors may prove very useful in identifying the need for metal remediation, which will be dictated in many cases by the concentration of bioavailable toxic metals in a given soil or water matrix, and also in defining the end point for bioremediation efforts. The biodegradation of toxic organotin compounds used as biocides and antifouling agents has also received recent attention. Laboratory tests have indicated that the immobilization of metals and radionuclides by bioremediation could be very effective, with removal of contaminants from the mobile aqueous phase to below critical values. Nevertheless, contaminant immobilization caused by bioremediation must be regarded as the retardation of contaminant migration rather than as a permanent solution to the problem. However, driven by the realization that large areas of land contaminated with metal and radionuclides cannot be economically remediated by conventional chemical approaches, significant resources have become available for this research area. Supported by genomics-enabled studies ongoing in many laboratories worldwide, one can expect this research area to develop further in the near future, delivering more robust technologies for the bioremediation of metal-contaminated waters and land.

Citation: Lloyd J, Anderson R, Macaskie L. 2005. Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides, p 293-317. In Atlas R, Philip J (ed), Bioremediation. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817596.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 8.1

Mechanisms of metal-microbe interactions.

Citation: Lloyd J, Anderson R, Macaskie L. 2005. Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides, p 293-317. In Atlas R, Philip J (ed), Bioremediation. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817596.ch8
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Image of BOX FIGURE 8.1.1

Flow scheme (left) and photograph (right) of a pilot plant for removal of mercury from wastewater by mercury-resistant bacteria. The plant includes pH adjustment to pH 7, nutrient amendment, the bioreactor (volume, 1 m), a buffering tank, and a polishing carbon filter. Continuous automated Hg measurement is performed at the inflow, after the bioreactor, and at the outflow. pH is measured before and after adjustment to pH 7. Other parameters determined continuously are chlorine concentration (Cl), oxygen concentration (O), redox potential (R), conductivity (C), and temperature (T). Figures were kindly provided by Dr. Irene Wagner-Döbler.

Citation: Lloyd J, Anderson R, Macaskie L. 2005. Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides, p 293-317. In Atlas R, Philip J (ed), Bioremediation. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817596.ch8
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Image of BOX FIGURE 8.2.1

Aerial photograph (right) and flow sheet (facing page) of the Paques BV Thiopaq zinc-sulfate treatment process at the Budel Zinc BV refinery at Budel-Dorplein in The Netherlands. TPS, tilted plate settler. With permission from Paques BV.

Citation: Lloyd J, Anderson R, Macaskie L. 2005. Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides, p 293-317. In Atlas R, Philip J (ed), Bioremediation. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817596.ch8
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Image of BOX FIGURE 8.3.1

Schematic showing the removal of soluble U(VI) from contaminated groundwater under Fe(III)-reducing conditions, stimulated by the addition of acetate to the subsurface. aq, aqueous phase; s, solid phase.

Citation: Lloyd J, Anderson R, Macaskie L. 2005. Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides, p 293-317. In Atlas R, Philip J (ed), Bioremediation. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817596.ch8
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Image of BOX FIGURE 8.3.2

Test plot for U(VI) remediation at the Old Rifle UMTRA site, consisting of an acetate injection gallery composed of 20 injection wells and 18 monitoring wells installed within a 16- by 24-m area.

Citation: Lloyd J, Anderson R, Macaskie L. 2005. Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides, p 293-317. In Atlas R, Philip J (ed), Bioremediation. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817596.ch8
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Image of BOX FIGURE 8.4.1

Aerial photograph (above) of the Wheal Jane Mine in Cornwall, United Kingdom, and a schematic of the passive treatment processes (next page) installed for the bioremediation of mine wastewaters (with permission from CL:AIRE).

Citation: Lloyd J, Anderson R, Macaskie L. 2005. Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides, p 293-317. In Atlas R, Philip J (ed), Bioremediation. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817596.ch8
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Performance of Thiopaq metal-sulfate treatment process at Budel Dorplein

Citation: Lloyd J, Anderson R, Macaskie L. 2005. Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides, p 293-317. In Atlas R, Philip J (ed), Bioremediation. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817596.ch8
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Average composition of Wheal Jane tin mine water (1995 to 1998)

Citation: Lloyd J, Anderson R, Macaskie L. 2005. Bioremediation of Metals and Radionuclides, p 293-317. In Atlas R, Philip J (ed), Bioremediation. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817596.ch8

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