Scientists fromIndian Institute of Technology (IIT-BHU) have discovered a bacterium that can separate toxic metals from water, making it safe for human consumption. The search was published in the international magazine “Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering”. The team "baptized" the bacterium with the name of Microbacterium paraoxydans strain VSVM IIT (BHU).
A bacterium that makes water safe and drinkable by eating toxic metals
The bacterial strain was isolated by Dr. Vishal Mishra and by the doctoral student Veer Singh, which removed toxic metals from water taken from a contaminated site. To ascertain its effectiveness, scientists tested hexavalent chromium and the reaction of bacteria to it in industrial and synthetic wastewater. The results? Really satisfying. The bacterium essentially separates toxic hexavalent chromium from wastewater.
Hexavalent Chromium: Deadly Enemy
When consumed, the toxic metals based on hexavalent chromium are responsible for many health problems among humans. Different types of cancer, liver ailments and kidney problems in particular. According to the researchers, this bacterial strain is able to tolerate high concentrations of hexavalent chromium, making it highly effective compared to conventional methods.
The use of this bacterial strain in water treatment practices would eliminate the need for an additional separation process from toxic metals, and reduce the costs of treatment equipment and substances.
The goal of the research
Indian research aims to focus on cost-effective methods of water treatment. The bacteria are easy to grow and can serve the purpose very well. Unlike water treatment, culturing toxic metal-eating bacteria does not require a trained workforce.
Its user-friendly capability could serve multiple functions in India, where access to clean water remains a privilege in many regions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), waterborne diseases
kill 3,4 million people worldwide every year, mainly in developing countries.