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Biosorption of copper by immobilized biomass of Aspergillus australensis. Effect of metal on the viability, cellular components, polyhydroxyalkanoates production, and oxidative stress

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Heavy metals are toxic especially when they are introduced into the environment due to anthropogenic activities such as metallurgy, mining, and tanning. Removing these pollutants has become a worldwide concern since they cannot be degraded into nontoxic forms causing extended effects in the ecosystems. The use of an Aspergillus australensis was evaluated in order to remove Cu2+ from simulated wastewater. The fungus was isolated from river sludges contaminated with heavy metals and was first evaluated for the determination of Cu2+ tolerance levels. Microscopic fluorescence analysis was carried out to determine the effect of Cu2+ presence on the viability, cellular components, polyhydroxyalkanoates production, and oxidative stress of the fungus, as a response to the stress caused by exposure to metal. In order to achieve copper removal, the A. australensis biomass was produced using batch cultures, and the mycelium was immobilized on a textile media in order to compare the copper-removal efficiency of live or dead biomass. The optimal values of pH and temperature for biomass production were established by using a surface response analysis. Live immobilized biomass was capable of removing Cu2+ from 1.54 ± 0.19 to 2.66 ± 0.26 mg of copper/ g of dry biomass, while values of 1.93 ± 0.03 to 2.36 ± 0.29 mg of copper/g of dry biomass were observed when dead biomass was used. As was expected, copper removal using biomass varied depending on the pH and temperature used.

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The study was funded by the Mexican Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT) through the project No. CONACyT No. 2015-01-1594, and for the scholarship to Ana Gabriela Contreras Cortés for postgraduate studies.

Author information

M. Plascencia-Jatomea and F.J. Almendariz-Tapia conceived and designed the experiments. A.G. Contreras-Cortés performed the experiments. A. Gómez-Álvarez, A. Burgos-Hernández, M.O. Cortez-Rocha, E.C. Rosas Burgos, F. Rodríguez-Félix, and M.Á. Quevedo-López analyzed the data and contributed with materials and analysis tools.

Correspondence to Francisco Javier Almendariz-Tapia or Maribel Plascencia-Jatomea.

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Contreras-Cortés, A.G., Almendariz-Tapia, F.J., Cortez-Rocha, M.O. et al. Biosorption of copper by immobilized biomass of Aspergillus australensis. Effect of metal on the viability, cellular components, polyhydroxyalkanoates production, and oxidative stress. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-07747-y

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  • Tolerance
  • Copper
  • Biosorption
  • Fungi
  • Oxidative stress
  • Viability