A comprehensive review on chromium (Cr) contamination and Cr(VI)-resistant extremophiles in diverse extreme environments
Chromium (Cr) compounds are usually toxins and exist abundantly in two different forms, Cr(VI) and Cr(III), in nature. Their contamination in any environment is a major problem. Many extreme environments including cold climate, warm climate, acidic environment, basic/alkaline environment, hypersaline environment, radiation, drought, high pressure, and anaerobic conditions have accumulated elevated Cr contamination. These harsh physicochemical conditions associated with Cr(VI) contamination damage biological systems in various ways. However, several unique microorganisms belonging to phylogenetically distant taxa (bacteria, fungi, and microalgae) owing to different and very distinct physiological characteristics can withstand extremities of Cr(VI) in different physicochemical environments. These challenging situations offer great potential and extended proficiencies in extremophiles for environmental and biotechnological applications. On these issues, the present review draws attention to Cr(VI) contamination from diverse extreme environmental regions. The study gives a detailed account on the ecology and biogeography of Cr(VI)-resistant microorganisms in inhospitable environments, and their use for detoxifying Cr(VI) and other applications. The study also focuses on physiological, multi-omics, and genetic engineering approaches of Cr(VI)-resistant extremophiles.