Fungal bioextraction of iron from kaolin

  • Filip Polák
  • Martin UríkEmail author
  • Marek Bujdoš
  • Hyunjung Kim
  • Peter Matúš
Short Communication


Elevated iron content in low-grade kaolin is one of the chemical factors detrimental for its industrial applications. Therefore, various physical and chemical methods have been applied to decrease iron concentration in kaolin. One of the more feasible and environmentally friendly method is biobenefication via microbially-induced bioextraction. Therefore, this paper provides data on fungal bioextraction of iron from kaolin sample when incubated with fungal Aspergillus niger strain. After 19-day cultivation, approximately 45% of iron impurities have been bioextracted by fungus and distributed into fungal biomass or culture medium. The bioextraction was triggered by both acidification of culture medium by fungus (below pH of 1.5) and organic acids production, which are biologically conversed from glucose. However, bioextraction of silicon and aluminium, which form building blocks of clay minerals in kaolin, was reasonably low and did not overcome 0.15%. Thus, our data indicate that the bioextraction of iron using A. niger strain for kaolin processing is a viable alternative method for increasing quality of the low-grade kaolin.


Bioextraction Biobenefication Filamentous fungi Kaolin Organic acids 



This work was supported by the Scientific Grant Agency of the Slovak Republic Ministry of Education and the Slovak Academy of Sciences under VEGA contract nos. 1/0164/17, 1/0146/18, 1/0186/20 and 1/0192/20, Comenius University grant No. UK/55/2019; and by the Slovak Research and Development Agency under the contract no. SK-KR-18-0003.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Chemistry, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Laboratory Research on Geomaterials, Faculty of Natural SciencesComenius University in BratislavaBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Department of Mineral Resources and Energy EngineeringChonbuk National UniversityJeonjuRepublic of Korea

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