Fungal bioweathering of zinc mineral ore

Xinjin Liang and Geoffrey M. Gadd

Author address: 

Division of Molecular Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 5EH, Scotland, UK


Sphalerite (ZnS) is the most abundant zinc-bearing mineral; this research project focused on ecotoxicological and bioweathering interactions between zinc sulfide and fungi. These interactions can be complex since many factors may influence the bioavailability, and therefore the toxicity, of toxicants such as zinc and sulfide [1, 2]. This work examined the processes involved in fungal solubilization of a zinc sulfide ore by fungi capable of both citric and oxalic acid production, in order to understand the mechanisms which are involved in metal solubilization or immobilization and their relative significance [1-3]. There is relatively little information available on the capability of oxalic acid-producing fungi to precipitate Zn biominerals. The common soil fungus, Aspergillus niger and Serpula himantioides were used as test organisms to examine the main interactions. It was demonstrated that A. niger is capable of transforming the insoluble inorganic zinc sulfide into an insoluble organic metal compound via an intermediate solubilization process, and production of zinc oxalate was found, which has not been observed before. Some bioweathering phenomena were also observed on zinc sulfide mineral grown with Serpula himantioides.

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

1st UK-Geomicrobiology Network Meeting
    • UK GNM, 1st