A manganese-oxidizing fungus was isolated from a hot spring in Japan. The fungus was increasingly effective at oxidizing Mn(II) ions as the concentration of organic carbon sources in the growth medium was decreased. The fungus oxidized 50 ppm of Mn(II) ions within 160 h in a pH 7.3 medium at 25°C. The presence of carbon fiber shortened the time to 80 h, and promoted steady oxidation. The oxidation products were identified by XPS and XRD to be poorly crystallized and amorphous MnO2, both with and without the fiber. These results suggest that the fiber participates in kinetically limited oxidation. The fungus was entangled with and clung to the fibers, and the oxidized Mn species accumulated on the fungus. Similarly shaped polyethylene telephthalate fiber did not enhance the oxidation, nor was adhesion of the fungus observed. Although the mechanism is still unknown, the present work shows that removal of Mn from solution through the precipitation and accumulation of Mn-oxides on the fungus in the presence of carbon fiber is a promising improvement for water treatment.
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