Why are bacteria also known as nature’s scavengers?

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Environmental pollution due to heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury leads to several toxic hazards in human beings like Cancer. Biomagnification and Bioaccumulation are some of the characteristic features of metal pollution.

They living organisms including human beings are continuously exposed to metals. They accumulate by a process called as Bioaccumulation. Ultimately, continuously exposure and accumulation of these metals results in the increased concentration which ultimately enters the food chain and affects humans. This is called as Biomagnification.

Certain bacteria can take up these heavy and toxic metals from the waste waters and ponds and acts as natural bioscavengers.

A few bacteria species that can accumulate metals on their cell walls are:

Escherichia coli takes up mercury while Bacillus circulans can accumulate copper.

These bacteria take up the metal pollutants through absorption or adsorption and in a relatively complex process. 

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