Selenite and tellurite reduction by Aspergillus niger fungal pellets using lignocellulosic hydrolysate
J Hazard Mater. 2022 Jun 9;437:129333. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2022.129333. Online ahead of print.
The performance of Aspergillus niger pellets to remove selenite and tellurite from wastewater using batch and continuous fungal pelleted bioreactors was investigated. The acid hydrolysate of brewer’s spent grain (BSG) was utilized by A. niger as the electron donor for selenite and tellurite reduction. The dilution of BSG hydrolysate using mineral medium had a positive effect on the selenite and tellurite removal efficiency with a 1:3 ratio giving the best efficiency. However, selenite and tellurite inhibited fungal growth with a 40.9% and 27.3% decrease in the A. niger biomass yield in the presence of 50 mg/L selenite and tellurite, respectively. The maximum selenite and tellurite removal efficiency using 25% BSG hydrolysate in batch incubations amounted to 72.8% and 99.5% Two fungal pelleted bioreactors were operated in continuous mode using BSG hydrolysate as the substrate. Both the selenite and tellurite removal efficiencies during steady state operation were > 80% with tellurite showing a maximum removal efficiency of 98.5% at 10 mg/L influent concentration. Elemental Se nanospheres for selenite and both Te nanospheres and nanorods for tellurite were formed within the fungal pellets. This study demonstrates the suitability BSG hydrolysate as a low cost carbon source for removal of selenite and tellurite using fungal pellet bioreactors.