Vanadium in the Environment: Biogeochemistry and Bioremediation

Environ Sci Technol. 2023 Oct 3;57(39):14770-14786. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.3c04508. Epub 2023 Sep 11.


Vanadium(V) is a highly toxic multivalent, redox-sensitive element. It is widely distributed in the environment and employed in various industrial applications. Interactions between V and (micro)organisms have recently garnered considerable attention. This Review discusses the biogeochemical cycling of V and its corresponding bioremediation strategies. Anthropogenic activities have resulted in elevated environmental V concentrations compared to natural emissions. The global distributions of V in the atmosphere, soils, water bodies, and sediments are outlined here, with notable prevalence in Europe. Soluble V(V) predominantly exists in the environment and exhibits high mobility and chemical reactivity. The transport of V within environmental media and across food chains is also discussed. Microbially mediated V transformation is evaluated to shed light on the primary mechanisms underlying microbial V(V) reduction, namely electron transfer and enzymatic catalysis. Additionally, this Review highlights bioremediation strategies by exploring their geochemical influences and technical implementation methods. The identified knowledge gaps include the particulate speciation of V and its associated environmental behaviors as well as the biogeochemical processes of V in marine environments. Finally, challenges for future research are reported, including the screening of V hyperaccumulators and V(V)-reducing microbes and field tests for bioremediation approaches.

Keywords: biogeochemistry; bioremediation; microbial reduction; soil/groundwater pollution; vanadium.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Minerals
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Soil*
  • Vanadium* / analysis
  • Vanadium* / chemistry


  • Vanadium
  • Soil
  • Minerals