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IIT-BHU scientists isolate bacterial strain that removes toxic agent from waste

The researchers have tested hexavalent chromium removal capacity of this bacterial strain in industrial and synthetic waste water and have found satisfactory results

PUBLISHED ON SEP 20, 2021 03:48 PM IST

Researchers at School of Biochemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology at the Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU) claim to have isolated a new bacterial strain from a contaminated site that can remove a potentially cancer-causing toxic agent, known as hexavalent chromium, from waste water in the most effective and eco-friendly manner.

Hexavalent chromium is a heavy metal ion used in different industries and can cause cancers, infertility, kidney and liver malfunctioning in humans, said researchers Dr Vishal Mishra and his Ph.D student Veer Singh.

Dr Mishra said the new strain named Microbacterium paraoxydans strain VSVM IIT (BHU) was able to tolerate large concentrations of hexavalent chromium.

“It is very effective for removal of hexavalent chromium from wastewater compared to other conventional methods. This bacterial strain showed fast growth rate in the Hexavalent chromium Cr (VI) containing aqueous medium and gets easily separated from the aqueous medium after the treatment process,” he said.

He said this bacterial strain doesn’t require an extra separation process after removal. He added that the bacterial-mediated-wastewater-treatment process is very inexpensive and non-toxic because there was no involvement of expensive equipment and chemicals, he said.

The researchers have tested hexavalent chromium removal capacity of this bacterial strain in industrial and synthetic waste water and have found satisfactory results. They said they have also tested the mechanism in bacterial cells.

“The research showed that several heavy metal tolerance mechanisms get activated in bacterial cells when they are grown in hexavalent chromium containing growth medium,” he added.

Their research work, focused on cost-effective and eco-friendly methods for removal of toxic metal ions, has already been published in Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, an international publication of repute.

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