Transformation of vanadinite (Pb5 (VO4 )3 Cl) by fungi

Andrea Ceci, Young Joon Rhee, Martin Kierans, Stephen Hillier, Helen Pendlowski, Nia Gray, Anna Maria Persiani, Geoffrey Michael Gadd (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    Saprotrophic fungi were investigated for their bioweathering effects on the vanadium- and lead-containing insoluble apatite group mineral, vanadinite (Pb5 (VO4 )3 Cl). Despite the insolubility of vanadinite, fungi exerted both biochemical and biophysical effects on the mineral including etching, penetration and formation of new biominerals. Lead oxalate was precipitated by Aspergillus niger during bioleaching of natural and synthetic vanadinite. Some calcium oxalate monohydrate (whewellite) was formed with natural vanadinite because of the presence of associated ankerite (Ca(Fe(2+) ,Mg)(CO3 )2 ). A. niger also precipitated lead oxalate during growth in the presence of lead carbonate, vanadium(V) oxide and ammonium metavanadate, while abiotic tests confirmed the efficacy of oxalic acid in solubilizing vanadinite and precipitating lead as oxalate. Geochemical modelling confirmed the complexity of vanadium speciation, and the significant effect of oxalate. Oxalate-vanadium complexes markedly reduced the vanadinite stability field, with cationic lead(II) and lead oxalate also occurring. In all treatments and geochemical simulations, no other lead vanadate, or vanadium minerals were detected. This research highlights the importance of oxalate in vanadinite bioweathering and suggests a general fungal transformation of lead-containing apatite group minerals (e.g. vanadinite, pyromorphite, mimetite) by this mechanism. The findings are also relevant to remedial treatments for lead/vanadium contamination, and novel approaches for vanadium recovery.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2018-2034
    Number of pages17
    JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
    Issue number6
    Early online date29 Oct 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


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