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Responses exhibited by various microbial groups relevant to uranium exposure

Kolhe, Nilesh, Zinjarde, Smita, Acharya, Celin
Biotechnology advances 2018 v.36 no.7 pp. 1828-1846
algae, bacteria, bioavailability, bioremediation, biosorption, field experimentation, fungi, metagenomics, minerals, proteomics, rocks, surveys, toxicity, uranium
There is a strong interest in knowing how various microbial systems respond to the presence of uranium (U), largely in the context of bioremediation. There is no known biological role for uranium so far. Uranium is naturally present in rocks and minerals. The insoluble nature of the U(IV) minerals keeps uranium firmly bound in the earth’s crust minimizing its bioavailability. However, anthropogenic nuclear reaction processes over the last few decades have resulted in introduction of uranium into the environment in soluble and toxic forms. Microbes adsorb, accumulate, reduce, oxidize, possibly respire, mineralize and precipitate uranium. This review focuses on the microbial responses to uranium exposure which allows the alteration of the forms and concentrations of uranium within the cell and in the local environment. Detailed information on the three major bioprocesses namely, biosorption, bioprecipitation and bioreduction exhibited by the microbes belonging to various groups and subgroups of bacteria, fungi and algae is provided in this review elucidating their intrinsic and engineered abilities for uranium removal. The survey also highlights the instances of the field trials undertaken for in situ uranium bioremediation. Advances in genomics and proteomics approaches providing the information on the regulatory and physiologically important determinants in the microbes in response to uranium challenge have been catalogued here. Recent developments in metagenomics and metaproteomics indicating the ecologically relevant traits required for the adaptation and survival of environmental microbes residing in uranium contaminated sites are also included. A comprehensive understanding of the microbial responses to uranium can facilitate the development of in situ U bioremediation strategies.