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Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 Jul 15;125(2):170-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2008.03.041. Epub 2008 Apr 7.

Reversible surface binding of cadmium and lead by lactic acid and bifidobacteria.

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1
University of Turku, Functional Foods Forum, 20014 University of Turku, Finland. tetaha@utu.fi

Abstract

Extensive cadmium and lead contamination of water has been reported to occur locally as a result of human activities. Lactic acid bacteria have been reported to remove cadmium and lead from water. The aim of this work was to clarify the mechanisms of cadmium and lead removal from water. In addition, the effect of other metals, reversibility of binding and recyclability of the biomass was assessed. Based on our earlier data, the two most promising lactic acid bacteria, Lactobacillus fermentum ME3 and Bifidobacterium longum 46, were selected for these experiments. The results showed that the presence of other cationic metals and blocking of carboxyl and phosphoryl groups reduced cadmium and lead removal. These results suggest involvement of electrostatic interactions in cadmium and lead removal, and support our earlier findings. Transmission electron micrographs showed large deposits of lead on the bacterial surface suggesting formation of metallic lead precipitates. Both cadmium and lead removal were reversible processes established by full recovery of removed metal after desorption with dilute solutions of EDTA and HNO(3). Resorption capacity of both biomasses tested was reduced after regeneration with 10 mM EDTA and 15 mM HNO(3). Taken together, the results suggest involvement of several reversible mechanisms such as ion exchange and precipitation in cadmium and lead binding by lactic acid bacteria. The results show that specific lactic acid bacteria have the potential for removal of cadmium and lead from water although reduction in resorption capacity after regeneration of the biomass may form a problem. Since the studies so far have mainly focused on removal of single metals from pure water, metal removal in conditions of natural waters should be assessed in further experiments.

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