Role of Algae in Bioremediation of Heavy Metals

A special issue of Phycology (ISSN 2673-9410).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 6568

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Marine Resources, Conservation and Technology, Marine Algae Laboratory, Centre for Functional Ecology—Science for People & the Planet (CFE), Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: marine biotechnology; phycology; biodiversity; nutraceuticals
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Guest Editor
Department of Geosciences, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: mineralogy, environmental geochemistry; soil and water contamination; heavy metals
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the biggest challenges in the mining industry worldwide is the management of the risk associated with heavy metal contamination. The oxidation and reduction reactions that sulfides undergo are the main cause of mining drainage and will cause mine runoff to have harmful and toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, copper, iron, sulfur, nickel and zinc in solution. Mining drainage that has water with an acidic pH and contains heavy metals poses a threat to the balance of the ecosystem and leads to concerns related to human and animal health.

Algae have a considerable capacity to absorb heavy metals from wastewater and have an ability to grow well in extreme environments. Thus, recent research works have sought to test different species of microalgae that possess the ability to remove heavy metals and toxic pollutants from mining drainage. Algae biomass-based biofuels are a promising alternative to fossil fuels and can lead to a circular bioeconomy. This study serves to review and analyze microalgae-based bioremediation systems with application to acid mining drainage.

Reviews, original research, and communications are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Leonel Pereira
Dr. Paula Carvalho
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • bioremediation
  • algae
  • mining drainage
  • heavy metals
  • phycology

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 2477 KiB  
Article
Metabolome of Cadmium Stressed Gracilaria caudata (Rhodophyta)
by Luiza Araujo-Motta, Cicero Alves-Lima, Leonardo Zambotti-Vilella and Pio Colepicolo
Phycology 2023, 3(2), 255-269; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology3020016 - 26 Apr 2023
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Abstract
We report here the effects of cadmium on the metabolome of the macroalga Gracilaria caudata. The IC50 of 3 mg/L (12 µM) was obtained after 48 hrs exposure and induced lower photosynthesis efficiency. Threshold concentrations determined by the Brazilian Environmental Council [...] Read more.
We report here the effects of cadmium on the metabolome of the macroalga Gracilaria caudata. The IC50 of 3 mg/L (12 µM) was obtained after 48 hrs exposure and induced lower photosynthesis efficiency. Threshold concentrations determined by the Brazilian Environmental Council (CONAMA) in marine waters (0.04 mg/L) and effluent discharge (0.2 mg/L) were also tested, and the latter changed photosynthetic efficiency similarly to IC50. A total of 43 metabolites were identified, including monosaccharides, carboxylic acids, and amino acids. By an unsupervised PCA, we identified significative alterations in the metabolome by the IC50. An OPLS-DA analysis showed that Cd2+ exposure caused the variation of 20 metabolites, mainly glyoxylate-related, ascorbate, floridoside and proline. Five metabolic pathways altered by Cd2+ showed an accumulation of amino acids, carbon metabolism intermediates and antioxidant responses to Cd2+. We recommend a review of the toxicity parameters and methods that guide environmental policies on cadmium levels in Brazilian marine waters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Algae in Bioremediation of Heavy Metals)
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Review

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16 pages, 1566 KiB  
Review
Potential Role of Spirogyra sp. and Chlorella sp. in Bioremediation of Mine Drainage: A Review
by Ângelo Almeida, João Cotas, Leonel Pereira and Paula Carvalho
Phycology 2023, 3(1), 186-201; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology3010012 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4213
Abstract
One of the biggest global challenges in the mining industry is managing the risks associated with contamination by potentially toxic elements (PTEs) resulting from their activity. The oxidation of sulfides is the main cause of polluted mine drainage through the leaching of PTEs [...] Read more.
One of the biggest global challenges in the mining industry is managing the risks associated with contamination by potentially toxic elements (PTEs) resulting from their activity. The oxidation of sulfides is the main cause of polluted mine drainage through the leaching of PTEs from mine waste and mine galleries to the water systems. Mine drainage can be highly acidic and often has a high concentration of PTEs, particularly arsenic, one of the environment’s most toxic elements. PTEs endanger the ecosystem’s equilibrium and raise worries about human and animal health. Some species of algae which can be naturally present in mine drainage waters, such as Spirogyra sp. And Chlorella sp., have a high capacity for absorbing PTEs from wastewater and may thrive in harsh environments. As a result, algal-based systems in bioremediation were studied and carefully analyzed, since their capacity to remove heavy metals and hazardous contaminants from polluted mine water have already been shown in previous studies. Biofuels derived from microalgal biomasses are a viable alternative to fossil fuels that can lead to a circular bioeconomy. This study reviews and analyses Chlorophyta-based bioremediation systems with application to mine waters focusing on Spirogyra sp. and Chlorella sp., since they are naturally present in mine drainage and can serve as a study model to better understand their application in bioremediation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Algae in Bioremediation of Heavy Metals)
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