Commercially feasible technologies involving traditional physico-chemical and chemical engineering principles are not at all simple or inexpensive, yet they are usually chosen over the few technologies using biological solutions currently available for heavy metal removal and recovery from industrial wastewaters. It is not to be expected that any bioremediation option will itself prove inexpensive. Perhaps it is not surprising that industry has been somewhat reluctant to adopt biological processes for use in metal-removal technologies. The chemical industry requires, and for good reason, reliable processes which are predictable, scalable, and controllable by plant operations personnel. Plant and laboratory aqueous effluents must consistently comply with discharge limits set by governmental regulators. As basic science reveals more and more about how biotraps behave, and as the number of potential materials reported in the scientific literature increases, many new opportunities for commercial adoption of a suitable biotechnology should begin to appear. Perhaps bioremediation of metal-contaminated sites and wastewaters will then be developed to its full potential and realize the promise of new and reliable technologies. The success will probably depend upon blending of the best technologies the chemical and biological fields have to offer.
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