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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 503784, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/503784
Review Article

Physical, Chemical, and Biological Methods for the Removal of Arsenic Compounds

1Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Serdang, 43400 Selangor, Malaysia
2Department of Bioprocess Technology, Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Serdang, 43400 Selangor, Malaysia

Received 31 October 2013; Revised 30 December 2013; Accepted 30 December 2013; Published 17 February 2014

Academic Editor: Abdelwahab Omri

Copyright © 2014 K. T. Lim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Arsenic is a toxic metalloid which is widely distributed in nature. It is normally present as arsenate under oxic conditions while arsenite is predominant under reducing condition. The major discharges of arsenic in the environment are mainly due to natural sources such as aquifers and anthropogenic sources. It is known that arsenite salts are more toxic than arsenate as it binds with vicinal thiols in pyruvate dehydrogenase while arsenate inhibits the oxidative phosphorylation process. The common mechanisms for arsenic detoxification are uptaken by phosphate transporters, aquaglyceroporins, and active extrusion system and reduced by arsenate reductases via dissimilatory reduction mechanism. Some species of autotrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms use arsenic oxyanions for their regeneration of energy. Certain species of microorganisms are able to use arsenate as their nutrient in respiratory process. Detoxification operons are a common form of arsenic resistance in microorganisms. Hence, the use of bioremediation could be an effective and economic way to reduce this pollutant from the environment.