Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 8, pp 3297–3316 | Cite as

Heavy metal resistance in algae and its application for metal nanoparticle synthesis

  • Eepsita Priyadarshini
  • Sushree Sangita Priyadarshini
  • Nilotpala PradhanEmail author


The ungenerous release of metals from different industrial, agricultural, and anthropogenic sources has resulted in heavy metal pollution. Metals with a density larger than 5 g cm−3 have been termed as heavy metals and have been stated to be potentially toxic to human and animals. Algae are known to be pioneer organisms with the potential to grow under extreme conditions including heavy metal-polluted sites. They have evolved efficient defense strategies to combat the toxic effects exerted by heavy metal ions. Most of the algal strains are reported to accumulate elevated metal ion concentration in cellular organelles. With respect to that, this review focuses on understanding the various strategies used by algal system for heavy metal resistance. Additionally, the application of this metal resistance in biosynthesis of metal nanoparticles and metal oxide nanoparticles has been investigated in details. We thereby conclude that algae serve as an excellent system for understanding metal uptake and accumulation. This thereby assists in the design and development of low-cost approaches for large-scale synthesis of nanoparticles and bioremediation approach, providing ample opportunities for future work.


Algae Microalgae Macroalgae Heavy metal resistance Biosorption Bioaccumulation Metal efflux Metal nanoparticles 



All authors are thankful to Director CSIR-IMMT, Bhubaneswar, for the permission to publish this article. NP would like to thank the DST (DST-UKIERI Award No. DST/INT/UK/P-128/2016) for the financial support. EP is thankful to DST-SERB, Govt. of India, for the fellowship under the National Postdoctoral (NPDF) Scheme (Grant Number PDF/2017/000024). SSP would like thank to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Govt. of India, for the fellowship under the CSIR-JRF Scheme (Grant Number 20/12/2015 (ii) EU-V).

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eepsita Priyadarshini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sushree Sangita Priyadarshini
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nilotpala Pradhan
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Environment and Sustainability DepartmentCSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT)BhubaneswarIndia
  2. 2.School of Environmental SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.Academy of Scientific and Innovative ResearchCSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT)BhubaneswarIndia

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