The role of bacterial spores in metal cycling and their potential application in metal contaminant bioremediation

Cristina N. Butterfield, Sung Woo Lee, Bradley Tebo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bacteria are one of the premier biological forces that, in combination with chemical and physical forces, drive metal availability in the environment. Bacterial spores, when found in the environment, are often considered to be dormant and metabolically inactive, in a resting state waiting for favorable conditions for them to germinate. However, this is a highly oversimplified view of spores in the environment. The surface of bacterial spores represents a potential site for chemical reactions to occur. Additionally, proteins in the outer layers (spore coats or exosporium) may also have more specific catalytic activity. As a consequence, bacterial spores can play a role in geochemical processes and may indeed find uses in various biotechnological applications. The aim of this review is to introduce the role of bacteria and bacterial spores in biogeochemical cycles and their potential use as toxic metal bioremediation agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberTBS-0018-2013
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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