New research out in Microbiology reports on a strain of the bacteria Brachybacterium (Mn32) that can remove toxic metal manganese from solution by oxidizing in into a manganese oxide. This oxide then can absorb zinc and nickle ions three to four more times efficiently than that manganese oxide produced chemically. The next step is to move tackling the hurdles to use such a process and bacteria in heavy metal bioremediation. The bacteria were originally isolated in from sediment samples taken in the deep Pacific Ocean. Just another way that deep-sea organisms may save your tail.
Wang, W., Shao, Z., Liu, Y., & Wang, G. (2009). Removal of multi-heavy metals using biogenic manganese oxides generated by a deep-sea sedimentary bacterium – Brachybacterium sp. strain Mn32 Microbiology, 155 (6), 1989-1996 DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.024141-0