Mechanisms for metal removal established via electron microscopy and spectroscopy: a case study on metal tolerant fungi Penicillium simplicissimum

Si Hui Chen, Yuen Lin Cheow, Si Ling Ng, Adeline Su Yien Ting

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Penicillium simplicissimum (isolate 10), a metal tolerant fungus, tolerated 1000 mg/L Cu and 500 mg/L Zn, but were inhibited by Cd (100 mg/L), evident by the Tolerance Index (TI) of 0.88, 0.83, and 0.08, respectively. Live cells of P. simplicissimum were more effective in removing Cr (88.6%), Pb (73.7%), Cu (63.8%), Cd (33.1%), and Zn (28.3%) than dead cells (5.3–61.7%). Microscopy approach via SEM-EDX and TEM-EDX suggested that metal removal involved biosorption and bioaccumulation, with metal precipitates detected on the cell wall, and in the cytoplasm and vacuoles. FTIR analysis revealed metals interacted with amino, carbonyl, hydroxyl, phosphoryl (except Cd) and nitro groups in the cell wall. Biosorption and bioaccumulation of metals by live cells reduced Cu and Pb toxicity, observed from good root and (4.00–4.28 cm) and shoot (8.07–8.36 cm) growth of Vigna radiata in the phytotoxicity assay.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)394-402
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019


    • Electron microscopy
    • FTIR
    • Penicillium simplicissimum
    • Phytotoxicity
    • Toxic metals

    Cite this