Biosorption of Metals

  • M. Zimmermann
  • K. Wolf
Part of the The Mycota book series (MYCOTA, volume 10)


There are many interactions between living cells and metals. Essential metals must he taken up by the cells, and they must be stored at their destinations. When the metals are present in the medium in too low a concentration, they must be accumulated. If the ambient metal concentration is too high, even essential metals become toxic and mechanisms of detoxification must ensure survival of the cell. Non-essential metals may enter cells in several ways and cause damage to their metabolism. Therefore, these metals have to be detoxified. All living cells have developed mechanisms by which they take up, store, detoxify or dispose of metals. Surprisingly, some species have been found which are able to concentrate metals to an extent which far exceeds necessary concentrations (Gabriel et al. 1994, 1997; Muraledharand et al. 1995; Pillichshammer et al. 1995; Michelot et al. 1998). Even non-essential metals are concentrated by these organisms to a tremendously high extent. This property has attracted the attention of many researchers looking for cheap ways to concentrate metals from dilute solutions of various origins. This chapter deals with the use of fungal biomass for removal of metals from solution. We refer to the literature since 1990, as the older literature has been reviewed exhaustively by Volesky (1990). It is not the aim of this chapter to give a detailed description of the physicochemical process of sorption, or to discuss in detail the mechanisms by which intracellular metal concentrations are regulated. The physicochemistry of sorption has been discussed extensively by Volesky (1990, 1994), the industrial use of biosorption as well as different types of biosorbents by Volesky and Holan (1995), metal cation uptake by yeast by Blackwell et al. (1995), metal transport in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by Eide (1998), and metal dependent regulation of genes by Winge et al. (1998). More general reviews on the interaction of fungi with toxic metals have been given by Gadd (1993) and Gray (1998).


Heavy Metal Aspergillus Niger Mycorrhizal Fungus Fungal Biomass Neurospora Crassa 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Zimmermann
    • 1
  • K. Wolf
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Biologie IV (Mikrobiologie)Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule AachenAachenGermany

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