Microb Biotechnol. 2021 Jun 11. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.13843. Online ahead of print.
There are a need for novel, economical and efficient metal processing technologies to improve critical metal sustainability, particularly for cobalt and nickel which have extensive applications in low-carbon energy technologies. Fungal metal biorecovery processes show potential in this regard and the products of recovery are also industrially significant. Here we present a basis for selective biorecovery of Co and Ni oxalates and phosphates using reactive spent Aspergillus niger culture filtrate containing mycogenic oxalate and phosphate solubilized from struvite. Selective precipitation of oxalates was achieved by adjusting phosphate-laden filtrates to pH 2.5 prior to precipitation. Co recovery at pH 2.5 was high with a maximum of ~96% achieved, while ~60% Ni recovery was achieved, yielding microscale polyhedral biominerals. Co and Ni phosphates were precipitated at pH 7.5, following prior oxalate removal, resulting in near-total Co recovery (>99%), while Ni phosphate yields were also high with a recovery maximum of 83.0%.