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Microbial and Plant-Assisted Bioremediation of Heavy Metal Polluted Environments: A Review

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      Abstract

      Environmental pollution from hazardous waste materials, organic pollutants and heavy metals, has adversely affected the natural ecosystem to the detriment of man. These pollutants arise from anthropogenic sources as well as natural disasters such as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions. Toxic metals could accumulate in agricultural soils and get into the food chain, thereby becoming a major threat to food security. Conventional and physical methods are expensive and not effective in areas with low metal toxicity. Bioremediation is therefore an eco-friendly and efficient method of reclaiming environments contaminated with heavy metals by making use of the inherent biological mechanisms of microorganisms and plants to eradicate hazardous contaminants. This review discusses the toxic effects of heavy metal pollution and the mechanisms used by microbes and plants for environmental remediation. It also emphasized the importance of modern biotechnological techniques and approaches in improving the ability of microbial enzymes to effectively degrade heavy metals at a faster rate, highlighting recent advances in microbial bioremediation and phytoremediation for the removal of heavy metals from the environment as well as future prospects and limitations. However, strict adherence to biosafety regulations must be followed in the use of biotechnological methods to ensure safety of the environment.

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      Reactive Oxygen Species, Oxidative Damage, and Antioxidative Defense Mechanism in Plants under Stressful Conditions

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        Iron uptake, translocation, and regulation in higher plants.

        Iron is essential for the survival and proliferation of all plants. Higher plants have developed two distinct strategies to acquire iron, which is only slightly soluble, from the rhizosphere: the reduction strategy of nongraminaceous plants and the chelation strategy of graminaceous plants. Key molecular components-including transporters, enzymes, and chelators-have been clarified for both strategies, and many of these components are now thought to also function inside the plant to facilitate internal iron transport. Transporters for intracellular iron trafficking are also being clarified. A majority of genes encoding these components are transcriptionally regulated in response to iron availability. Recent research has uncovered central transcription factors, cis-acting elements, and molecular mechanisms regulating these genes. Manipulation of these molecular components has produced transgenic crops with enhanced tolerance to iron deficiency or with increased iron content in the edible parts.
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          Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria: Mechanisms and Applications

           Bernard Glick (2012)
          The worldwide increases in both environmental damage and human population pressure have the unfortunate consequence that global food production may soon become insufficient to feed all of the world's people. It is therefore essential that agricultural productivity be significantly increased within the next few decades. To this end, agricultural practice is moving toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach. This includes both the increasing use of transgenic plants and plant growth-promoting bacteria as a part of mainstream agricultural practice. Here, a number of the mechanisms utilized by plant growth-promoting bacteria are discussed and considered. It is envisioned that in the not too distant future, plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) will begin to replace the use of chemicals in agriculture, horticulture, silviculture, and environmental cleanup strategies. While there may not be one simple strategy that can effectively promote the growth of all plants under all conditions, some of the strategies that are discussed already show great promise.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Food Security and Safety Niche Area, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Private Mail Bag X2046, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa; 30783887@ 123456nwu.ac.za
            Author notes
            [* ]Correspondence: olubukola.babalola@ 123456nwu.ac.za ; Tel.: +27-786551839
            Journal
            Int J Environ Res Public Health
            Int J Environ Res Public Health
            ijerph
            International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
            MDPI
            1661-7827
            1660-4601
            04 December 2017
            December 2017
            : 14
            : 12
            29207531
            5750922
            10.3390/ijerph14121504
            ijerph-14-01504
            © 2017 by the authors.

            Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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