Fungi were isolated from zinc-containing rocks and mining soil. They were screened for the ability to solubilize and transform three insoluble zinc compounds: ZnO, Zn3(PO)4, and ZnCO3. Fungi were plated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium which was supplemented with 0.5% (w/v) of insoluble zinc compounds. Of the strains tested, four fungal isolates showed the highest efficiency for solubilizing all the insoluble zinc compounds, producing clearing zone diameters > 40 mm. These were identified as a Phomopsis spp., Aspergillus sp.1, Aspergillus sp.2, and Aspergillus niger. Zinc oxide was the most easily solubilized compound and it was found that 87%, 52%, and 61% of the tested fungi (23 isolates) were able to solubilize zinc oxide, zinc phosphate, and zinc carbonate, respectively. Precipitation of zinc-containing crystals was observed in zinc oxide-containing agar medium underneath colonies of Aspergillus sp.1, and these were identified as zinc oxalate. It is suggested that these kinds of fungi have the potential application in bioremediation practices for heavy metal contaminated soils.
- Zinc compounds