About this Research Topic
Metalliferous mining activities generate large amounts of low-metal-containing solid waste. Once microbes and water contact these wastes, metals are released. This is known as bioleaching. With proper management, the metals can be extracted from these wastes via bioleaching. Bioleaching is a low-cost and environmentally-friendly biotechnology, which has been applied to recycle metals from tailings worldwide.
Whereas in abandoned mining areas, the heavy metals are released from the exposed wastes and are subsequently transferred to soils and waters nearby. This causes a serious environmental problem known as acid mine/rock drainage (AMD). AMD destroys local ecosystems and the heavy metals are ultimately accumulated in human bodies via the food chain, causing diseases. Many strategies have attempted to detoxify soil and water, but most are insufficient. Bioremediation, which utilizes microbes or/and plants to transform or accumulate heavy metals, has been proven to be one effective and promising method.
Improving the application of bioremediation to treat the hazardous soil and water is urgent. Additionally, speeding up the recycling of metals from newly produced tailings at an industrial scale is also crucial: it not only satisfies the needs of society for metals but also prevents the production of AMD at the source.
However, there are still challenges. For example, it is difficult to design and establish effective ecological communities of microbes and plants to adsorb/precipitate the heavy metals. For metal recycling, the relatively long time period limits the industrial application of bioleaching.
Thus, this Research Topic aims to collect research on bioleaching, bioremediation and related studies. The research may include mechanisms, methodology, new technology and its applications. By sharing these ideas it can pave way for cross-collaborations in this important research area.
We welcome contributions in the form of Original Research and Reviews. Areas of interest may include, but are not limited to, the following:
-newly isolated/genetically engineered microorganisms
-bioreactors; microbial community optimization
-microbe-mineral interactions; microbe-microbe interactions
-sulfur and iron cycling
-strategies for the enhancement of bioleaching
-strategies for the control of bioleaching
-newly isolated/genetically engineered heavy metal-resistant and accumulating microorganisms/plants
-interactions between microorganisms and plants
-functional microbial communities in environments for metal removal
-bioreactors/biosystems for metal removal
-strategies for establishing effective ecological communities of microbes and plants
-trace, migration and speciation, spatial distribution, removal, ecological and health risk assessment of toxic metals
Keywords: Bioleaching, Acid mine/rock drainage, Heavy metals, Bioremediation
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.