Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 22, pp 22137–22146 | Cite as

Extraction and characterization of extracellular polymeric substances from a mixed fungal culture during the adaptation process with waste printed circuit boards

  • Mingchen Xia
  • Peng Bao
  • Shishi Zhang
  • Ajuan Liu
  • Li Shen
  • Runlan Yu
  • Yuandong Liu
  • Miao Chen
  • Jiaokun Li
  • Xueling Wu
  • Guanzhou Qiu
  • Weimin ZengEmail author
Research Article


Extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) extracted from fungal mycelium by four chemical methods (NaOH, H2SO4, formaldehyde-NaOH, glutaraldehyde-NaOH), three physical methods (heating, ultrasound, vibration), and a control method (centrifugation alone) were investigated. Results indicated formaldehyde-NaOH outperformed other methods with 186.6 ± 8.0 mg/g of polysaccharides and 23.2 ± 4.6 mg/g of protein extracted and ensured little contamination by intracellular substances. Thereafter, this method was applied in extracting EPS from a mixed fungal culture in the adaptation process with 0.5% (w/v) waste printed circuit boards (PCBs). With the four adaptation stages continuing, the culture tended to become more sensitive to respond to the external toxic environment characterized by secreting EPS more easily and quickly. The maximum amount of polysaccharides and protein could be achieved in only 3 days both at the 3rd and 4th adaptation stage. Three-dimensional excitation-emission matrix fluorescence spectrum indicated the peaks obtained for EPS were mainly associated to soluble microbial by-product-like and aromatic protein-like compounds. Transmission electron microscopic observation illustrated that although metal ions penetrated into hypha cells, parts of them could be absorbed by EPS, implying that EPS secretion may be a primary protective strategy adopted by the culture.


Extracellular polymeric substances Extraction method Mixed fungal culture Adaptation Waste printed circuit boards Three-dimensional fluorescence spectrum Transmission electron microscopy 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31470230, 51320105006, 51604308), the Youth Talent Foundation of Hunan Province of China (No.2017RS3003), Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province of China (No.2018JJ2486), and Key Research and Development Projects in Hunan Province (2018WK2012).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Minerals Processing and BioengineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of BiometallurgyMinistry of EducationChangshaChina
  3. 3.CSIRO Process Science and EngineeringClaytonAustralia
  4. 4.Centre for Advanced Materials and Industrial ChemistryRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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