Anthropogenic activities, such as mining of natural resources, manufac-turing industries, modern agricultural practices and energy production have resulted in the release of heavy metals with resultant harmful im-pacts in some natural environments. Toxic heavy metals are harmful to living organisms even at low concentrations. Therefore, heavy metal contaminated sites should be remediated as heavy metals do not decompose into less harmful substances and are retained in the soil. Conventional methods are used for remediation of heavy metal contaminated soils such as heavy metal extraction, immobilization and removal of soils to landfill produce large quantities of toxic products including insoluble hydroxides and are rarely cost effective. The advent of bioremediation technologies like biosparging, bioventing and bioaugmentation has provided an alternative to conventional methods for remediating heavy metal contaminated soils. A subset of bacteria found in the rhizosphere has been found to increase the tolerance of plants to heavy metals in soil. These bacteria commonly known as plant growth promoting rhizobacteria or Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) are showing promise as a bioremediation technique for the stabilisation and remediation of heavy metal contami-nated sites. PGPR can improve plant growth via a variety of mechanism including fixing atmospheric N to improve N status and making plants more tolerant of heavy metals. Scattered literature is harnessed to review the principles, advantages and disadvantages of the available technologies for remediating heavy metal contaminated soils and is presented.
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