Utilization of extracellular fungal melanin as an eco-friendly biosorbent for treatment of metal-contaminated effluents

Jeong Joo Oh, Jee Young Kim, Young Jun Kim, Sok Kim, Gyu Hyeok Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Fungal melanins have been considered as potential biosorbents due to their metal-binding properties, stability, and scalability. Previous studies established scalable fungal melanin production methods with promising strains, however, their applicability for metal-contaminated effluents treatment has not been sufficiently reported. Herein, melanin pigment derived from Amorphotheca resinae was produced and characterized using microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. Adsorptive properties towards Cu(II), Pb(II), Cd(II), and Zn(II) were evaluated using batch tests. Melanin pigment was composed of aggregates of nanosized particles with indole-based constituents. Adsorption capacities increased with the pH of solution, especially at pH > 4.0. Maximum binding capacities of Cu(II), Pb(II), Cd(II), and Zn(II) on melanin were 69.18, 103.23, 24.31, and 13.57 mg/g, respectively. The competitive adsorption experiments elucidated affinity as Cu(II)>Pb(II)≫Cd(II)>Zn(II). Adsorption time generally required <2.5 h to reach equilibrium; the pseudo-second-order kinetic model well described the kinetics. Chelating ability of free radicals in pigment was considered as a possible mechanism for adsorption. Initial adsorption capacities remained almost intact even after 5 consecutive adsorption–desorption cycles. Complete removal of Cu(II), Pb(II), and Cd(II) from metal-contaminated effluent was confirmed. Consequently, melanin pigment derived from A. resinae can be used as a biosorbent suitable for the treatment of metal-contaminated aqueous solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129884
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun


  • Amorphotheca resinae
  • Biosorption
  • Fungal melanin
  • Heavy metals
  • Melanin pigment
  • Microbial biosorbent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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