Removal of heavy metals by an Aspergillus terreus strain immobilized in a polyurethane matrix

Lett Appl Microbiol. 2002;34(1):46-50. doi: 10.1046/j.1472-765x.2002.01040.x.


Aims: The aim was to investigate the biosorption of chromium, nickel and iron from metallurgical effluents, produced by a steel foundry, using a strain of Aspergillus terreus immobilized in polyurethane foam.

Methods and results: A. terreus UFMG-F01 was immobilized in polyurethane foam and subjected to biosorption tests with metallurgical effluents. Maximal metal uptake values of 164.5 mg g(-1) iron, 96.5 mg g(-1) chromium and 19.6 mg g(-1) nickel were attained in a culture medium containing 100% of effluent stream supplemented with 1% of glucose, after 6 d of incubation.

Conclusions: Microbial populations in metal-polluted environments include fungi that have adapted to otherwise toxic concentrations of heavy metals and have become metal resistant. In this work, a strain of A. terreus was successfully used as a metal biosorbent for the treatment of metallurgical effluents.

Significance and impact of the study: A. terreus UFMG-F01 was shown to have good biosorption properties with respect to heavy metals. The low cost and simplicity of this technique make its use ideal for the treatment of effluents from steel foundries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus / metabolism*
  • Biomass
  • Chromium / metabolism
  • Industrial Waste
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Metals / metabolism*
  • Nickel / metabolism
  • Polyurethanes
  • Steel


  • Industrial Waste
  • Metals
  • Polyurethanes
  • Chromium
  • Steel
  • Nickel
  • polyurethane foam
  • Iron