Screening of Phosphorus-Accumulating Fungi and Their Potential for Phosphorus Removal from Waste Streams

Yulin Ye, Jing Gan, Bo Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


While bacteria have been primarily studied for phosphorus (P) removal in wastewater treatment, fungi and their ability to accumulate intracellular polyphosphate are less investigated. P-accumulating fungal strains were screened from soybean plants and surrounding soil by flask cultivation with potato dextrose broth and KH2PO4 in this study. Mucor circinelloides was selected for its high efficiency in P removal efficiency and high cellular P content. Neisser staining and growth-curve analysis confirmed that M. circinelloides stored polyphosphate intracellularly by luxury phosphate uptake. The effect of culture medium compositions on P removal efficiency and cellular P content was also investigated. Monosaccharides (such as glucose and fructose) and organic nitrogen (N, such as urea, and peptone) promoted fungi growth and P accumulation. M. circinelloides also preferred organic phosphates. When glucose, urea, and phytic acid sodium salt were used as the carbon, N, and P source, respectively, the maximum utilization efficiency was 40.1 % for P and 7.08 % for cellular P content. In addition, the potential of M. circinelloides for P removal from waste streams was investigated. Compared with the non-inoculated control culture, inoculation with M. circinelloides improved the soluble P removal in treating wastewater centrate, screened manure, and digested manure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1136
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 18 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Mucor circinelloides
  • Phosphorus removal
  • Phosphorus-accumulating fungi
  • Polyphosphate
  • Waste streams


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