Water pollution with toxic heavy metals is of growing concern because heavy metals could bring about serious problems for not only ecosystems in the water environment but also human health. Some metal removal technologies have been in practical use, but much energy and troublesome treatments for chemical wastes are required to operate these conventional technologies. In this study, heavy metal-binding proteins (HMBPs) were obtained from metal-stimulated activated sludge culture with affinity chromatography using copper ion as a ligand. Two-dimensional electrophoresis revealed that a number of proteins in activated sludge culture were recovered as HMBPs for copper ion. N-termini of five HMBPs were determined, and two of them were found to be newly discovered proteins for which no amino acid sequences in protein databases were retrieved at more than 80% identities. Metal-coordinating amino acids occupied 38% of residues in one of the N-terminal sequences of the newly discovered HMBPs. Since these HMBPs were expected to be stable under conditions of water and wastewater treatments, it would be possible to utilize HMBPs as novel adsorbents for heavy metal removal if mass volume of HMBPs can be obtained with protein cloning techniques.
- Activated sludge culture
- Affinity chromatography
- Copper ion
- Heavy metal-binding proteins
- N-terminal amino acid sequence
- Two-dimensional electrophoresis