Abstract Heavy metals, derived from industrial wastewater discharge, present a serious threat to human health and to natural water. Biosorption is regarded as a cost-effective biotechnology for the treatment of high volume and low concentration wastewaters containing heavy metal(s) in the order of 1 to 100 mg L−1. Among the biomaterials for heavy metal removal which have been researched during the past decades is the Streptomyces species, a by-product of an industrial antibiotic fermentation process. This paper describes the hazards posed by heavy metals effluents on the environment and use of various Streptomyces species to remove heavy metals from aqueous solution. Characterization of Streptomyces species, factors affecting biosorption, biosorption isotherms and biosorption kinetics is discussed. Graphical abstract <alternatives> [...] </alternatives>
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