Isolation, identification, Pb(II) biosorption isotherms and kinetics of a lead adsorbing Penicillium sp. MRF-1 from South Korean mine soil

Natarajan Velmurugan, Grim Hwang, Muthuswamy Sathishkumar, Tae Kie Choi, Kui Jae Lee, Byung Taek Oh, Yang Soo Lee

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A heavy metal contaminated soil sample collected from a mine in Chonnam Province of South Korea was found to be a source of heavy metal adsorbing biosorbents. Chemical analyses showed high contents of lead (Pb) at 357 mg/kg and cyanide (CN) at 14.6 mg/kg in the soil. The experimental results showed that Penicillium sp. MRF-1 was the best lead resistant fungus among the four individual metal tolerant fungal species isolated from the soil. Molecular characterization of Penicillium sp. MRF-1 was determined using ITS regions sequences. Effects of pH, temperature and contact time on adsorption of Pb(II) by Penicillium sp. MRF-1 were studied. Favorable conditions for maximum biosportion were found at pH 4 with 3 hr contact time. Biosorption of Pb(II) gradually increased with increasing temperature. Efficient performance of the biosorbent was described using Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. Adsorption kinetics was studied using pseudo first-order and pseudo second-order models. Biosorbent Penicillium sp. MRF-1 showed the maximum desorption in alkali conditions. Consistent adsorption/desorption potential of the biosorbent in repetitive cycles validated the efficacy of it in large scale. SEM studies given notes on surface modification of fungal biomass under metal stress and FT-IR results showed the presence of amino groups in the surface structure of the biosorbent. In conclusion, the new biosorbent Penicillium sp. MRF-1 may potentially be used as an inexpensive, easily cultivatable material for the removal of lead from aqueous solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1056
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Author N. Velmurugan thanks Mr. A. P. S. Suganth (India) for his valuable suggestions to improve this manuscript. This study was supported by Agricultural R&D Promotion Center, South Korea (No. 060101001).


  • Biosorption
  • Heavy metal resistant fungus
  • Isotherms
  • Kinetics
  • Penicillium sp.


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