Environmental Engineering

Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 392-399

First online:

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

  • Sunil Kumar BeheraAffiliated withInstitute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR)
  • , Prangya Parimita PandaAffiliated withInstitute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR)
  • , Sandeep Kumar SainiAffiliated withUtkal University
  • , Nilotpala PradhanAffiliated withInstitute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR)
  • , Lala Behari SuklaAffiliated withInstitute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR) Email author 
  • , Barada Kanta MishraAffiliated withInstitute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR)

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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 niger Chromite Overburden Manganese Nickel Oxalic Acid