SUMMARY: Heavy metal pollution is a serious environmental problem and the chemical/physical means of getting rid of them are either too expensive, not effective for low quantities of pollutants, or produce a lot of toxic waste. One solution is to use microbes to help pick up and collect these pollutants from the soil. The cell surfaces of microbes are negatively charged, this means they’re effective at picking up positively charged metals. There are already algae, bacteria, mold and yeast that are used now to clean up heavily contaminated soil (usually caused by mining). These organisms are easy to cultivate and are resistant (or can develop resistance) to heavy metal toxicity.
LESSON COMMENTS: Students will need to understand the concept of electrostatic forces, compounds, and ions. Other topics include pH, acid/base chemistry, valence electrons, and chemistry and characteristic of the transition metals (specifically the heavy metals). The paper is quite easy to read and can be broken down into chemistry-focused sections and biology-focused sections.
Ayangbenro, A. S., & Babalola, O. O. (2017). A New Strategy for Heavy Metal Polluted Environments: A Review of Microbial Biosorbents. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(1), 94. doi:10.3390/ijerph14010094