Implication of plants and microbial metalloproteins in the bioremediation of polluted waters: A review

E. Fosso-Kankeu, A. F. Mulaba-Bafubiandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional approaches to municipal water monitoring barely includes procedures for toxic heavy metals testing. However, the presence of such contaminants in water sources is expected in South African surface and ground waters as a result of dispersion of effluents from acid mine drainage sites. Cheap and eco-friendly methods using microorganisms and plants are discussed in this review. Metal uptake mechanisms involving special proteins namely metalloproteins or metal-binding proteins and peptides, are elaborated and supported with some examples. The potential of phytochelatins and metallothioneins as metal chelating ligands in plants and microorganisms are reviewed and suggestion made to engineer these peptides in microbial sorbents for improved metal uptake. This review covers a number of approaches in the bioremediation of metal polluted effluents and systematically explains the mechanisms involved in the bio-uptake of metals, while highlighting the contribution of metal-binding proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-252
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of the Earth
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Bioremediation
  • Metal-binding proteins
  • Microorganisms
  • Plants
  • Toxic heavy metals
  • Water pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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