A critical review on microbes-based treatment strategies for mitigation of toxic pollutants

Pooja Sharma, Sheetal Kishor Parakh, Surendra Pratap Singh, Roberto Parra-Saldívar, Sang Hyoun Kim, Sunita Varjani, Yen Wah Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Contamination of the environment through toxic pollutants poses a key risk to the environment due to irreversible environmental damage(s). Industrialization and urbanization produced harmful elements such as petrochemicals, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, nanomaterials, and herbicides that are intentionally or unintentionally released into the water system, threatening biodiversity, the health of animals, and humans. Heavy metals (HMs) in water, for example, can exist in a variety of forms that are inclined by climate features like the presence of various types of organic matter, pH, water system hardness, transformation, and bioavailability. Biological treatment is an important tool for removing toxic contaminants from the ecosystem, and it has piqued the concern of investigators over the centuries. In situ bioremediation such as biosparging, bioventing, biostimulation, bioaugmentation, and phytoremediation and ex-situ bioremediation includes composting, land farming, biopiles, and bioreactors. In the last few years, scientific understanding of microbial relations with particular chemicals has aided in the protection of the environment. Despite intensive studies being carried out on the mitigation of toxic pollutants, there have been limited efforts performed to discuss the solutions to tackle the limitations and approaches for the remediation of heavy metals holistically. This paper summarizes the risk assessment of HMs on aquatic creatures, the environment, humans, and animals. The content of this paper highlights the principles and limitations of microbial remediation to address the technological challenges. The coming prospect and tasks of evaluating the impact of different treatment skills for pollutant remediation have been reviewed in detail. Moreover, genetically engineered microbes have emerged as powerful bioremediation capabilities with significant potential for expelling toxic elements. With appropriate examples, current challenging issues and boundaries related to the deployment of genetically engineered microbes as bioremediation on polluted soils are emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155444
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by the National Research Foundation , Prime Minister's Office, Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) program. Author(s) are thankful to their illustrative institutions for providing the literature services.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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