Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.103, No.17, 7241-7259, 2019
Fungal formation of selenium and tellurium nanoparticles
The fungi Aureobasidium pullulans, Mortierella humilis, Trichoderma harzianum and Phoma glomerata were used to investigate the formation of selenium- and tellurium-containing nanoparticles during growth on selenium- and tellurium-containing media. Most organisms were able to grow on both selenium- and tellurium-containing media at concentrations of 1 mM resulting in extensive precipitation of elemental selenium and tellurium on fungal surfaces as observed by the red and black colour changes. Red or black deposits were confirmed as elemental selenium and tellurium, respectively. Selenium oxide and tellurium oxide were also found after growth of Trichoderma harzianum with 1 mM selenite and tellurite as well as the formation of elemental selenium and tellurium. The hyphal matrix provided nucleation sites for metalloid deposition with extracellular protein and extracellular polymeric substances localizing the resultant Se or Te nanoparticles. These findings are relevant to remedial treatments for selenium and tellurium and to novel approaches for selenium and tellurium biorecovery.