Sci Rep. 2021 Dec 20;11(1):24239. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-03600-5.
The present work focuses on the revealing the patterns of copper oxalates formation under the influence of lichens and fungi by combination of the results of field studies and model experiments. These findings create the scientific basis for the potential microbial technology applications (ore enrichment, monuments conservation, environment bioremediation, etc.). Copper oxalate moolooite Cu(C2O4)·H2O was discovered in saxicolous lichen Lecidea inops on the weathered chalcopyrite ore of Voronov Bor deposit (Central Karelia, Russia). Bioinspired syntheses of moolooite and wheatleyite Na2Cu(C2O4)2 2H2O with the participation of the microscopic fungi Aspergillus niger (active producer of oxalic acid) were carried out on weathered Cu-ore from the Voronov Bor deposit. It was shown that morphology of moolooite crystals is controlled both by the underlying rock and by the species composition of microorganisms. Iron ions (sourced from the underlying rock) in the crystallization medium inhibits the moolooite formation. The observed intensive dissolution of moolooite crystals are well explained by washing effect of the intratalline solutions which depends on repeatedly dehydration / rehydration cycles in the lichens. Joint interpretation of original and published data shows that moolooite along with other cooper oxalates are biominerals.