EURO-MEDITERRANEAN JOURNAL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRATION, vol.1, no.1, 2016 (ESCI)
Acid mine drainage (AMD) is recognised as a serious and global environmental problem. The major producer of these toxic effluents is the mining industry. Owing to the severe effects of these effluents, their prevention and treatment have been a primary focus of research over several decades. The problems have invited the attention of a large group of researchers, governmental bodies, educational and research establishments, mining industries, general public and environmental specialists. A preferable option is to prevent the formation and movement of AMD from its source of origin; however, it is not possible in many locations. It, therefore, becomes essential to collect and treat AMD to which a number of treatment techniques are available. Despite the extreme environmental conditions, several communities of autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria and archaea are seen to flourish that mainly drive the rate of release of sulfur and toxic metals into the environment. The present review briefly discusses the cause and occurrence of AMD and the microbial diversity observed in such ecosystems. In addition, the bioremediation options are briefly presented with a discussion on the role of sulfidogenic biosystems in the bioremediation of the AMD.