IGEM:MIT/2007/Heavy Metals

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  • A Good Overview (though slightly back-dated): Quantitative assessment of worldwide contamination of air, water and soil by trace metals [1]
  • A summary of Pollutants from the EPA [2]
  1. Paul D, Pandey G, Pandey J, and Jain RK. Accessing microbial diversity for bioremediation and environmental restoration. Trends Biotechnol. 2005 Mar;23(3):135-42. DOI:10.1016/j.tibtech.2005.01.001 | PubMed ID:15734556 | HubMed [Paul05]
  2. Valls M and de Lorenzo V. Exploiting the genetic and biochemical capacities of bacteria for the remediation of heavy metal pollution. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2002 Nov;26(4):327-38. PubMed ID:12413663 | HubMed [Valls02]
All Medline abstracts: PubMed | HubMed


  • MCL(Maximum Containment Level): 5 ppb
  • MCLG(Maximum Containment Level Goal): 5 ppb
  • Known Carcinogen
  • Heavy Metal Limits
  1. Staessen JA, Lauwerys RR, Ide G, Roels HA, Vyncke G, and Amery A. Renal function and historical environmental cadmium pollution from zinc smelters. Lancet. 1994 Jun 18;343(8912):1523-7. PubMed ID:7911869 | HubMed [Staessen94]
  2. Satarug S, Baker JR, Urbenjapol S, Haswell-Elkins M, Reilly PE, Williams DJ, and Moore MR. A global perspective on cadmium pollution and toxicity in non-occupationally exposed population. Toxicol Lett. 2003 Jan 31;137(1-2):65-83. PubMed ID:12505433 | HubMed [Satarug03]
All Medline abstracts: PubMed | HubMed

  • Cadmium Contamination Sites
  1. Ishihara T, Kobayashi E, Okubo Y, Suwazono Y, Kido T, Nishijyo M, Nakagawa H, and Nogawa K. Association between cadmium concentration in rice and mortality in the Jinzu River basin, Japan. Toxicology. 2001 May 28;163(1):23-8. PubMed ID:11376862 | HubMed [Ishihara01]
Plachimada, India: [3]
    • statistics on Pb, Cd, Cr levels in well water surrounding a Coca-Cola plant (2006)
    • pictures too :)

  • Most recent(June06) paper on e.coli bioaccumulation of Cd
  1. Deng X, Yi XE, and Liu G. Cadmium removal from aqueous solution by gene-modified Escherichia coli JM109. J Hazard Mater. 2007 Jan 10;139(2):340-4. DOI:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2006.06.043 | PubMed ID:16890348 | HubMed [Deng06]

  • Promoters
  1. Brocklehurst KR, Megit SJ, and Morby AP. Characterisation of CadR from Pseudomonas aeruginosa: a Cd(II)-responsive MerR homologue. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Aug 22;308(2):234-9. PubMed ID:12901859 | HubMed [Brocklehurst03]
  • Brocklehurst - contains sequence for ZntR/CadR and PzntA/PcadA
    • Semmie's article on CadC linked with GFP [4]


  • MCL: 2 ppb
  • MCLG: 2 ppb
  • 20 ppb makes the fish mercury buildup significant

  • Polluted sites
    • Onondaga lake [5] [6] [7]
    • Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge [8]

  • Detection (to assess our system):

  • Promoter
  1. Hamlett NV, Landale EC, Davis BH, and Summers AO. Roles of the Tn21 merT, merP, and merC gene products in mercury resistance and mercury binding. J Bacteriol. 1992 Oct;174(20):6377-85. PubMed ID:1328156 | HubMed [Hamlett92]
  2. Park SJ, Wireman J, and Summers AO. Genetic analysis of the Tn21 mer operator-promoter. J Bacteriol. 1992 Apr;174(7):2160-71. PubMed ID:1312997 | HubMed [Park92]
  3. Condee CW and Summers AO. A mer-lux transcriptional fusion for real-time examination of in vivo gene expression kinetics and promoter response to altered superhelicity. J Bacteriol. 1992 Dec;174(24):8094-101. PubMed ID:1334070 | HubMed [Condee92]
  4. Gambill BD and Summers AO. Versatile mercury-resistant cloning and expression vectors. Gene. 1985;39(2-3):293-7. PubMed ID:4092936 | HubMed [Gambill85]
  5. Yao J, Zhong J, Fang Y, Geisinger E, Novick RP, and Lambowitz AM. Use of targetrons to disrupt essential and nonessential genes in Staphylococcus aureus reveals temperature sensitivity of Ll.LtrB group II intron splicing. RNA. 2006 Jul;12(7):1271-81. DOI:10.1261/rna.68706 | PubMed ID:16741231 | HubMed [Yao06]
  6. Hansen LH and Sørensen SJ. Versatile biosensor vectors for detection and quantification of mercury. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 Dec 1;193(1):123-7. PubMed ID:11094290 | HubMed [Hansen00]
All Medline abstracts: PubMed | HubMed
  • Hansen - Plasmid with Pmer, MerR, and reporter (lux, lac, or gfp) tested in e.coli

Current Industry Filtration Techniques

Mercury: approved by EPA - Coagulation/Filtration; Granular Activated Carbon; Lime softening; Reverse osmosis.