Fungal Biomineralization of Manganese as a Novel Source of Electrochemical Materials


Qianwei Li, Daoqing Liu, Zheng Jia,Laszlo Csetenyi,Geoffrey Michael Gadd

Date: 14 March 2017


Electrical energy storage systems such as rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LiBs) and supercapacitors have shown great promise as sustainable energy storage systems [1-4]. However, LiBs have high specific energy density (energy stored per unit mass) and act as slow, steady suppliers for large energy demands. In contrast, supercapacitors possess high specific power (energy transferred per unit mass per unit time) and can charge and discharge quickly for low energy demands. In LiBs, graphite is the most common anode material, although high electrolyte sensitivity and low charge capacity can limit performance. Efforts have been made to improve LiB or supercapacitor performance using alternative electrode materials such as carbon nanotubes and manganese oxides (MnxOy) [3, 5-14]. Microorganisms play significant roles in metal and mineral biotransformations [15-22]. Fungi possess various biomineralization properties, as well as a filamentous mycelium, which may provide mechanical support for mineral deposition. Although some research has been carried out on the application of biological materials as carbon precursors [8, 9, 23], biomineralizing fungal systems have not been investigated. In this research, novel electrochemical materials have been synthesized using a fungal Mn biomineralization process based on urease-mediated Mn carbonate bioprecipitation [24]. The carbonized fungal biomass-mineral composite (MycMnO(x)/C) showed a high specific capacitance (>350 F g(-1)) in a supercapacitor and excellent cycling stability (>90% capacity was retained after 200 cycles) in LiBs. This is the first demonstration of the synthesis of electrode materials using a fungal biomineralization process, thus providing a novel strategy for the preparation of sustainable electrochemical materials.

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