Metal sorption by biomass of melanin-producing fungi grown in clay-containing medium

Marina Fomina, Geoffrey M. Gadd (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    62 Citations (Scopus)


    The sorption of toxic metals by fungal mycelia grown in clay-containing medium is reported in this work. Biomass of melanin-producing microfungi of the genes Cladosporium (C cladosporioides, C resinae and C herbarum) and Aureobasidium pullulans, clay minerals and fungal mycelia grown in clay-containing medium were compared for their equilibrium Cu and Cd uptake from pH-buffered solutions using experimental sorption isotherms. Bentonite (Cherkassy) in the natural form was shown to be the best Cu sorbent compared with the other clays and clay minerals tested. Cu sorption isotherms fitted the Langmuir sorption model for all cases. Comparison of Cu and Cd uptake for biomass and bentonite showed a lower biomass uptake capacity but a considerably higher affinity of the biosorbent for the solute. The presence of kaolinite and palygorskite in the medium generally reduced both Cu and Cd sorption capacity and the metal-binding ability of the fungal-clay mixtures. In contrast, addition of bentonite into the medium did not appreciably alter the Cd sorption ability but increased the sorption of Cu by A pullulans and C cladosporioides grown in this medium. A common feature for all fungi grown in the presence of bentonite was an increase in the Cu sorption capacity (Qmax) of the biomineral sorbents and a reduction in their affinity (Langmuir parameter b) compared with control biomass. A difference between predicted and experimental data obtained for biomass grown on bentonite medium was also observed. The connection between the sorption capacity of biomass grown in clay-containing medium, mycelial morphology and the structure of fungal pellets is discussed and a mechanism for the changed sorption capacity of the combined biomineral sorbents is proposed which involves blocking or modification of binding sites on biotic and abiotic components of the 'biomineral' association.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-34
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
    Issue number1
    Early online date13 Dec 2002
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003


    • Biomineral sorbents
    • Clay minerals
    • Fungal biomass
    • Metal sorption

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biotechnology
    • General Chemical Engineering
    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Fuel Technology
    • Waste Management and Disposal
    • Pollution
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Inorganic Chemistry


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