Bioleaching of Manganese Oxides at Different Oxidation States by Filamentous Fungus Aspergillus niger
J Fungi (Basel). 2021 Sep 28;7(10):808. doi: 10.3390/jof7100808.
This work aimed to examine the bioleaching of manganese oxides at various oxidation states (MnO, MnO·Mn2O3, Mn2O3 and MnO2) by a strain of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger, a frequent soil representative. Our results showed that the fungus effectively disintegrated the crystal structure of selected mineral manganese phases. Thereby, during a 31-day static incubation of oxides in the presence of fungus, manganese was bioextracted into the culture medium and, in some cases, transformed into a new biogenic mineral. The latter resulted from the precipitation of extracted manganese with biogenic oxalate. The Mn(II,III)-oxide was the most susceptible to fungal biodeterioration, and up to 26% of the manganese content in oxide was extracted by the fungus into the medium. The detected variabilities in biogenic oxalate and gluconate accumulation in the medium are also discussed regarding the fungal sensitivity to manganese. These suggest an alternative pathway of manganese oxides’ biodeterioration via a reductive dissolution. There, the oxalate metabolites are consumed as the reductive agents. Our results highlight the significance of fungal activity in manganese mobilization and transformation. The soil fungi should be considered an important geoactive agent that affects the stability of natural geochemical barriers.