Fungal bioleaching of metals in preservative-treated wood

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38 Scopus citations


Twenty-four brown-rot and 10 white-rot fungi were screened to evaluate their applicability for detoxification of preservative-treated wood impregnated with copper and chromium (CC) salts. Brown-rot fungi generally showed higher tolerance towards copper inhibition than white-rot fungi. Additionally, brown-rot fungi were found to accumulate considerable quantities of oxalic acid (up to 44.3 mM) in liquid medium, while white-rot fungi generally accumulated only traces of this organic acid. Oxalic acid is a strong organic acid capable of complexing a variety of heavy metals. Four Antrodia vaillantii and two Poria placenta brown-rot strains that displayed both a high copper tolerance and a high oxalic acid production were selected for further study. The brown-rot fungi effectively decayed wood containing up to 4.4% CC causing corrected mass losses of up to 24.3% in 4 weeks. Fungal treatment was also found to promote extensive leaching of chromium (up to 52.4%), but only moderate leaching of copper (15.6% or less). These results indicate the potential of solid-state fermentation with copper-tolerant fungi for the remediation of preservative-treated wood. Improving the solubility of copper will be an important challenge for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-804
Number of pages7
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Brown-rot fungi
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Copper tolerance
  • Fungal bioleaching
  • Oxalic acid
  • Preservative-treated timber
  • White-rot fungi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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