Wastewaters from a chemical industry polluted by heavy metal ions represent a hazard for all living organisms. It can mean danger for ecosystems and human health. New methods are sought alternative to traditional chemical and physical processes. Active elimination process of heavy metals ions provided by living cells, their components and extracellular products represents a potential way of separating toxic heavy metals from industrial wastewaters. While the abilities of bacteria to remove metal ions in solution are extensively used, fungi have been recognized as a promising kind of low-cost adsorbents for removal of heavy-metal ions from aqueous waste sources. Yeasts and fungi differ from each other in their constitution and in their abilities to produce variety of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) with different mechanisms of metal interactions. The accumulation of Cd(2+), Cr(6+), Pb(2+), Ni(2+) and Zn(2+) by yeasts and their EPS was screened at twelve different yeast species in microcultivation system Bioscreen C and in the shaking Erlenmayer's flasks. This results were compared with the production of yeast EPS and the composition of yeast cell walls. The EPS production was measured during the yeast growth and cell wall composition was studied during the cultivations in the shaking flasks. At the end of the process extracellular polymers and their chemical composition were isolated and amount of bound heavy metals was characterized. The variable composition and the amount of the EPS were found at various yeast strains. It was influenced by various compositions of growth medium and also by various concentrations of heavy metals. It is evident, that the amount of bound heavy metals was different. The work reviews the possibilities of usage of various yeast EPS and components of cell walls in the elimination processes of heavy metal ions. Further the structure and properties of yeasts cell wall and EPS were discussed. The finding of mechanisms mentioned above is necessary to identify the functional groups entered in the metals elimination processes.

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