Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 21, pp 21118–21126 | Cite as

Remediation of lead-contaminated water by geological fluorapatite and fungus Penicillium oxalicum

  • Da Tian
  • Wenchao Wang
  • Mu Su
  • Junyi Zheng
  • Yuanyi Wu
  • Shimei Wang
  • Zhen Li
  • Shuijin Hu
Research Article


Phosphate-solubilizing fungi (PSF) can secrete large amounts of organic acids. In this study, the application of the fungus Penicillium oxalicum and geological fluorapatite (FAp) to lead immobilization was investigated. The formation and morphology of the lead-related minerals were analyzed by ATR-IR, XRD, Raman, and SEM. The quantity of organic acids secreted by P. oxalicum reached the maximum on the fourth day, which elevated soluble P concentrations from 0.4 to 108 mg/L in water. The secreted oxalic acid dominates the acidity in solution. P. oxalicum can survive in the solution with Pb concentration of ~ 1700 mg/L. In addition, it was shown that ~ 98% lead cations were removed while the fungus was cultured with Pb (~ 1700 mg/L) and FAp. The mechanism is that the released P from FAp (enhanced by organic acids) can react with Pb2+ to form the stable pyromorphite mineral [Pb5(PO4)3F]. The precipitation of lead oxalate also contributes to Pb immobilization. However, lead oxalate is more soluble due to its relatively high solubility. P. oxalicum has a higher rate of organic acid secretion compared with other typical PSF, e.g., Aspergillus niger. This study sheds light on bright future of applying P. oxalicum in Pb remediation.


Penicillium oxalicum Lead immobilization Phosphorus release Fluorapatite Pyromorphite Geomicrobiology 



We thank Mr. Letian Dai and Mr. Fuwei Wang for assistance in fungus isolation and culture.

Funding information

This work was partially supported by Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province of China (No. BK20150683), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2017M610330), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. KYTZ201404 and KYZ201712), and the Top-notch Academic Programs Project of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PPZY2015A061).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Resources and Environmental SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Jiangsu Key Lab for Organic Solid Waste UtilizationNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory for Mineral Deposits ResearchNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  4. 4.Department of Entomology & Plant PathologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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