Metal elements refined from underground resources remain finite and may suffer depletion, presenting the society with a serious problem. Although metal elements must be recycled to assure their continued use, complete recycling is practically difficult or impossible because of the high cost. Another problem is the environmental contamination by metallic compounds released into water bodies, the atmosphere, and soil. They might engender serious health hazards and exert harmful effects on the ecological system and human beings. Today, rather exotic metals are slated to be listed as environmental pollutants in addition to well-known toxic heavy metals. This book proposes the development of "metal biotechnology" to cope appropriately with the above-mentioned difficulties. Metal biotechnology is defined as biological technology that utilizes the reactions of various metals in metabolism and also chemical binding by living organisms and biomolecules. Metal biotechnology is a key technology that is useful for solving a problem that no physicochemical process can resolve or which no such process can resolve easily. This book introduces various fields of metal biotechnology, emphasizing applications for the fields of environment conservation and resource recycling. The topics discussed in this book include wastewater treatment and bioremediation technologies for hazardous metals making use of metal metabolism by microorganisms and other organisms; recovery and recycling of metals from drainage and waste sources; the biological synthesis and processing of new metallic materials and monitoring of metals for industrial uses; and bio-informatics in metal biotechnology. These topics are expected to be of great help for new developments in these new technologies.
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