Synthetic biology techniques to tackle heavy metal pollution and poisoning

Adithi Somayaji, Soumodeep Sarkar, Shravan Balasubramaniam, Ritu Raval

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The requirement for natural resources and energy increases continually with the increase in population. An inevitable result of this is soil, water, and air pollution with diverse pollutants, including heavy metals. Synthetic Biology involves using modular, interchangeable biological parts, devices in standard chassis or whole organisms to achieve a programmed result that can be quantified and optimized till it meets the required efficiency. This makes synthetic biology techniques very popular to tackle pressing global issues such as heavy metal poisoning. This review aimed to highlight various advancements as well as benefits, risks, and problems in synthetic biology techniques for detection, bioaccumulation, and biosorption of various heavy metals using engineered organisms. We found that while such an approach is cost-effective, accessible, and efficient, there are several inherent technological and ethical issues including but not limited to metabolic burden and consequences of use of genetically modified organisms respectively. Overcoming these hurdles will probably take time and innumerable conversations, and should be done through education and a culture of responsible research, rather than enforcing restrictions on the development of synthetic biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-846
Number of pages6
JournalSynthetic and Systems Biotechnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 09-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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