Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 392–399

Recovery of nickel from chromite overburden, Sukinda using Aspergillus niger supplemented with manganese


  • Sunil Kumar Behera
    • Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR)
  • Prangya Parimita Panda
    • Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR)
  • Sandeep Kumar Saini
    • Utkal University
  • Nilotpala Pradhan
    • Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR)
    • Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR)
  • Barada Kanta Mishra
    • Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR)
Environmental Engineering

DOI: 10.1007/s11814-012-0142-9

Cite this article as:
Behera, S.K., Panda, P.P., Saini, S.K. et al. Korean J. Chem. Eng. (2013) 30: 392. doi:10.1007/s11814-012-0142-9


Oxalic acid is a prominent metabolite secreted by several fungi under specific conditions, which acts as a metal chelating agent. Amongst different fungal species, Aspergillus niger is favored as the best option for microbial production of oxalic acid. The present study deals with the oxalic acid over production by A. niger in response to manganese supplement to its growth medium, which in turn improves the recovery of nickel from pre-treated chromite overburden(COB) during fungal bioleaching. The metabolic pathway in oxalate bio-synthesis by A. niger involves one prominent cytoplasmic enzyme oxaloacetate acetylhydrolase (OAH), which catalyzes the breakdown of oxaloacetate metabolic intermediate to oxalate and acetate. Oxalic acid production was increased due to supplement of manganese to the culture medium of the A. niger. Manganese acts as cofactor for OAH enzyme; further, it enhances the catalytic activity of OAH to produce more oxalate. With oxalic acid production by A. niger, nickel recovery from pre-treated COB was improved. During the study, a maximum of nickel recovery was achieved up to 38.6% from pre-treated COB by adding 80 ppm of manganese to the culture media, whereas 24.0% of nickel was recovered without supplement of manganese (experiments were performed at 30 °C and the COB pulp density 2% w/v).

Key words

Aspergillus nigerChromite OverburdenManganeseNickelOxalic Acid

Copyright information

© Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers, Seoul, Korea 2012