Fungal mycelia functionalization with halloysite nanotubes for hyphal spreading and sorption behavior regulation: A new bio-ceramic hybrid for enhanced water treatment.

Fungal mycelia functionalization with halloysite nanotubes for hyphal spreading and sorption behavior regulation: A new bio-ceramic hybrid for enhanced water treatment.

Water Res. 2020 Sep 01;186:116380

Authors: Ahn H, Rehman JU, Kim T, Oh MS, Yoon HY, Kim C, Lee Y, Shin SG, Jeon JR

Abstract
Filamentous fungi are believed to remove a wide range of environmental xenobiotics due to their characteristically non-specific catabolic metabolisms. Nonetheless, irregular hyphal spreading can lead to clogging problems in treatment facilities and the dependence of pollutant bioavailability on hyphal surface features severely limits their applicability in water treatment. Here, we propose a scalable and facile methodology to structurally modify fungal hyphae, allowing for both the maximization of pollutant sorption and fungal pellet morphology self-regulation. Halloysite-doped mycelium architectures were efficiently constructed by dipping Aspergillus fumigatus pellets in halloysite nanotube-dispersed water. Ultrastructure analyses using scanning electron microscopy equipped with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy revealed that the nanotubes were mainly attached to the outer surface of the pellets. Fungal viability and exoenzyme production were hardly affected by the halloysites. Notably, nanotube doping appeared to be extremely robust given that detachments rarely occurred even in high concentrations of organic solvents and salt. It was also demonstrated that the doped halloysites weakened hyphal growth-driven gelation, thus maintaining sphere-like pellet structures. The water treatment potential of the hybrid fungal mycelia was assessed through both cationic toxic organic/inorganic-contaminated water and real dye industry wastewater clean-ups. Aided by the mesoporous halloysite sites on their surface, the removal abilities of the hybrid structures were significantly enhanced. Moreover, inherent low sorption ability of HNT for heavy metals was found to be overcome by the aid of fungal mycelia. Finally, universal feature of the dipping-based doping way was confirmed by using different filamentous fungi. Given that traditional approaches to effectively implement fungus-based water treatment are based mostly on polymer-based immobilization techniques, our proposed approach provides a novel and effective alternative via simple doping of living fungi with environmentally-benign clays such as halloysite nanotubes.

PMID: 32919139 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Source: Industry