The Efficient and Cost-Effective Removal of Heavy Metal IONS from Water Using Nanoparticles Produced from BOTH Bacterial Biomass and Living Bacteria

Authors: 
Isern Blasco, C., Northeastern University
Medina, D., Northeastern University
Webster, T. J., Northeastern University
Industrial processes, agricultural activities, household, commercial and medical products, as well as sediments, are potential sources of heavy metals such as mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd) and chromium (Cr). These elements are considered persistent, bioaccumulative toxins. For instance, mercury persists in the environment for long periods by cycling back and forth between the air and soil surface, all the while changing chemical forms. These elements will never be removed from the environment; they will be just moved to other locations and eventually buried under sediments.

Many approaches have been used to efficiently remove them from the environment. Nanotechnology has risen as one of these potential methodologies, using nanostructures to bind heavy metal ions to them. Besides, nanotechnology can be combined with living organisms is a chance to enhance the removal of metallic ions from the environment. In this research, both bacterial biomass and living bacterial were used to remove mercury, cadmium, and chromium from contaminated water, through accumulation within the biomass or a detoxification processes generating non-toxic nanomaterials, respectively.

Therefore, here we present an efficient method to remove heavy metals from water using bacterial biomass and living bacteria, with no production of toxic by-products, in a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly process.