Bioremediation of copper-contaminated soils by bacteria

Cornu, Jean-Yves; Huguenot, David; Jézéquel, Karine; Lollier, Marc; Lebeau, Thierry
February 2017
World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology;Feb2017, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Although copper (Cu) is an essential micronutrient for all living organisms, it can be toxic at low concentrations. Its beneficial effects are therefore only observed for a narrow range of concentrations. Anthropogenic activities such as fungicide spraying and mining have resulted in the Cu contamination of environmental compartments (soil, water and sediment) at levels sometimes exceeding the toxicity threshold. This review focuses on the bioremediation of copper-contaminated soils. The mechanisms by which microorganisms, and in particular bacteria, can mobilize or immobilize Cu in soils are described and the corresponding bioremediation strategies-of varying levels of maturity-are addressed: (i) bioleaching as a process for the ex situ recovery of Cu from Cu-bearing solids, (ii) bioimmobilization to limit the in situ leaching of Cu into groundwater and (iii) bioaugmentation-assisted phytoextraction as an innovative process for in situ enhancement of Cu removal from soil. For each application, the specific conditions required to achieve the desired effect and the practical methods for control of the microbial processes were specified.


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