Bioremoval of PVP-coated silver nanoparticles using Aspergillus niger: the role of exopolysaccharides

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 May;29(21):31501-31510. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-18018-9. Epub 2022 Jan 10.


Extensive use of engineered nanoparticles has led to their eventual release in the environment. The present work aims to study the removal of Polyvinylpyrrolidone-coated silver nanoparticles (PVP-Ag-NPs) using Aspergillus niger and depict the role of exopolysaccharides in the removal process. Our results show that the majority of PVP-Ag-NPs were attached to fungal pellets. About 74% and 88% of the PVP-Ag-NPs were removed when incubated with A. niger pellets and exopolysaccharide-induced A. niger pellets, respectively. Ionized Ag decreased by 553 and 1290-fold under the same conditions as compared to stock PVP-Ag-NP. PVP-Ag-PVP resulted in an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) in 24 h. Results show an increase in PVP-Ag-NPs size from 28.4 to 115.9 nm for A. niger pellets and 160.3 nm after removal by stress-induced A. niger pellets and further increased to 650.1 nm for in vitro EPS removal. The obtained findings show that EPS can be used for nanoparticle removal, by increasing the net size of nanoparticles in aqueous media. This will, in turn, facilitate its removal through conventional filtration techniques commonly used at wastewater treatment plants.

Keywords: Ag-NPs; Aspergillus niger; Bioremoval; Exopolysaccharides; Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP); Reactive oxygen species.

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus
  • Aspergillus niger
  • Metal Nanoparticles*
  • Povidone
  • Silver* / pharmacology


  • Silver
  • Povidone

Supplementary concepts

  • Aspergillus brasiliensis