Fungal-Derived Chitosan-Based Nanocomposites: A Sustainable Approach for Heavy Metal Biosorption and Environmental Management

  • Subhaswaraj Pattnaik
  • Siddhardha BusiEmail author
Part of the Fungal Biology book series (FUNGBIO)


From the days of human civilization, water and water resources remain the most important for human living and development. As a result of population explosion, massive industrialization, indiscriminate technological expansion, unplanned urbanization, and excessive use of chemicals and their derivatives in agricultural practices lead to water contamination with serious environmental concern in recent years. The presence of heavy metals in the environment due to their increased discharge leads to toxicity and other adverse effects on living organisms residing in water bodies directly or indirectly and is of great concern. Besides, the presence of recalcitrant azo dyes in wastewater possesses additional human health adversity and environmental deterioration. Hence, the removal of toxic heavy metal ions from industrial effluents and water supplies has gained considerable attention in recent years which is very critical for maintaining environmental safety.

As the conventional methods of remediation of heavy metals and dyes are unsuitable due to their nonspecificity, inefficiency, and high cost, quest for natural substances as potential biosorbents is gaining considerable importance. Fungi and fungal-derived products are established as potent bioremediating agent in the removal of heavy metals and toxic dyes from the environment. Chitosan is a naturally derived polymer from fungi, bacteria, and insects, and its application as biosorbent is justified by its cost-effective nature and outstanding chelating potential. The polycationic nature of chitosan has an inherent advantage to remove anionic metals and dyes such as acid, reactive, and direct dyes by means of protonation of amine groups by ion exchange mechanism.

The world of nanotechnology provides unique properties in combination with conventional treatment techniques that enhance the bioremediation of heavy metals and azo dyes. Nanotechnology furnishes a solid platform to fungal-derived chitosan and its derivatives owing to their large surface area and high affinity toward the target compound/compounds when functionalized with various chemical groups. The unique formulation of fungal-derived chitosan nanocomposites offers enthralling opportunities in the bioremediation process. The efficient adsorption properties of chitosan and chitosan-based nanocomposites can be exploited for effective removal of toxic chemicals and environmental management. The bioremediation potential of fungal-derived chitosan and chitosan nanocomposites has several advantages such as greater efficiency, operational simplicity, ecological feasibility, and cost-effectiveness. The use of nanotechnology in the field of mycoremediation possesses fascinating platform in maintaining environmental equilibrium and effective neutralization of toxic heavy metals.


Chitosan Bioremediation Environmental management Heavy metals Nanotechnology Nanocomposite 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, School of Life SciencesPondicherry UniversityPuducherryIndia

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