Biogeochemical spatio-temporal transformation of copper in Aspergillus niger colonies grown on malachite with different inorganic nitrogen sources

Marina Fomina, Andrew D. Bowen, John M. Charnock, Valentin S. Podgorsky, Geoffrey M. Gadd (Lead / Corresponding author)

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This work elucidates spatio-temporal aspects of the biogeochemical transformation of copper mobilized from malachite (Cu2 (CO3 )(OH)2 ) and bioaccumulated within Aspergillus niger colonies when grown on different inorganic nitrogen sources. It was shown that the use of either ammonium or nitrate determined how copper was distributed within the colony and its microenvironment and the copper oxidation state and succession of copper coordinating ligands within the biomass. Nitrate-grown colonies yielded ∼1.7× more biomass, bioaccumulated ∼7× less copper, excreted ∼1.9× more oxalate and produced ∼1.75× less water-soluble copper in the medium in contrast to ammonium-grown colonies. Microfocus X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) revealed that as the mycelium matured, bioaccumulated copper was transformed from less stable and more toxic Cu(I) into less toxic Cu(II) which was coordinated predominantly by phosphate/malate ligands. With time, a shift to oxalate coordination of bioaccumulated copper occurred in the central older region of ammonium-grown colonies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1310-1321
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Early online date7 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Copper speciation
  • Mineral transformations
  • Aspergillus niger
  • Fungal colony
  • Oxalate
  • Microfocus XAS


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