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Makkena Sree Lekha and *Dr. V. Judia Harriet Sumathy


Heavy metals are highly persistent pollutants in the environment.
These metals are used in various industries from which effluents are
consequently discharged into the environment. Metals usually
accumulate at higher concentration in the soil than in water because it
is diluted in soil than in water easily. Soils are composed of minerals
which can naturally contain high concentrations of metals. Capacity of
soils will allow metals to attach to soil particles in response to ionic
attractions and accumulate. Several biotic and abiotic factors can
influence the specification and toxicity of metals in the soil. These
factors interact to influence metal speciation, bioavailability and
overall toxicity. Thus, it must be emphasized that determination of the
total concentration of a metal in a soil is not enough to predict toxicity in biological systems.
Most of the research on metal bioavailability has been done in soil because of understanding
the rate of metal in soil and sediment and also used to determine the effect of metals on the
biota, metal leaching to ground water and metal transfer up the food chain. The
environmental hazards posed by metals are directly linked to their concentrations in the soil
solution. High concentrations in the soil solution results in uptake of many plants, where
metals that are retained in the soil phase shows a great reduced environmental hazard. The
conventional methods used for the removal of heavy metals in contaminated effluent includes
electrochemical treatment, ion exchange, evaporation, chemical precipitation, reverse
osmosis and sorption, however all these physical and chemical methods were observed to
have technical and economical constrains like high cost of operation and release of chemical
and huge sludge to the environment as by-product. Therefore the need to replace them with cost effective and environmental friendly biological method of treatments is the need of the hour.

Keywords: Heavy metals, Environment, Hazard, Research and Biological Treatment Method.

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