Acta Scientific Microbiology (ASMI) (ISSN: 2581-3226)

Research Article Volume 3 Issue 11

Fungi that Survived in a Contaminated Uranium Mine from Brazil

Ednei Coelho1*, Tatiana Alves Reis1, Rodrigo Cardoso Oliveira2 and Benedito Corrêa1

1Laboratório de Micotoxinas, Departamento de Microbiologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Laboratorio de Micotoxinas, Departamento de Botánica, Instituto de Biologia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudade de México, México

*Corresponding Author: Ednei Coelho, Laboratório de Micotoxinas, Departamento de Microbiologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Received: August 20, 2020; Published: October 06, 2020



  The Osamu Utsumi mine was the first uranium mine in Brazil and ceased activities in 1995. Since then, it has encountered problems in rehabilitating the mine site due to high levels of contamination. Thus, the present investigation aimed to isolate and identify fungi from the Osamu Utsumi mine that may be suitable candidates for the bioremediation process and thus get to know the local mycobiota. The pH of the water samples was 3.3. The mean water activity (aw) of soil samples was 0.98. From this extreme environment, a total of 57 fungal species were isolated and identified, with genus Penicillium being the most abundant. The identification by classical techniques demonstrated that these fungi, despite being of the same species, in many cases, present different morphology. The accurate knowledge of the mycobiota capable of growing and survive on this type of environment, which fungi are dominant, provides essential data to help in futures studies. Effluents from the contaminated uranium mine can pose severe risks to the health of the population, as they can contaminate rivers and lakes close to the mine area, so it is necessary to properly treat the water from the acid mine drainage. In the future, the fungi isolated can potentially be used in the bioremediation process, providing an economical and eco-friendly alternative to conventional treatment.

Keywords: Fungi; Biodiversity; Uranium mine; Penicillium; Waste



  1. Arnold C. “Once upon a mine: The legacy of uranium on the Navajo Nation”. Environmental Health Perspectives 122 (2014): A44.
  2. Rufyikiri G., et al. “Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi can decrease the uptake of uranium by subterranean clover grown at high levels of uranium in soil”. Environment Pollution 130 (2004): 427-436.
  3. Cumberland S A., et al. “Uranium mobility in organic matter-rich sediments: A review of geological and geochemical processes”. Earth-Science Review 159 (2016): 160-185.
  4. Uranium Mining in Virginia : Scientific , Technical , Environmental , Human Health and Safety, and Regulatory Aspects of Uranium Mining and Processing in Virginia Committee on Uranium Mining in Virginia, Committee on Earth (2012).
  5. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation: Sources, Effects and Risks of ionizing Radiation UNSCEAR 1 (2013).
  6. Winde F., et al. “Uranium contaminated drinking water linked to leukaemia—Revisiting a case study from South Africa taking alternative exposure pathways into account”. Science of the Total Environment 574 (2017): 400-421.
  7. Souza AM., et al. “Contribuições dos metais provenientes das pilhas de rejeito da mina Osamu Utsumi a drenagens do Complexo Alcalino de Poços de Caldas, Minas Gerais”. Geochimica Brasiliensis 27 (2013): 63-76.
  8. Dutra P H., et al. “Impact of 210pb from osamu utsumi mine on sediment of rivers in caldas region, minas gerais”. 45 (2013): 10.
  9. Esmaeili A., et al. “Removal of heavy metals from acid mine drainage by native natural clay minerals, batch and continuous studies”. Applied Water Science 9 (2019): 1-6.
  10. Azubuike C C., et al. “Bioremediation techniques-classification based on site of application: principles, advantages, limitations and prospects”. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 32 (2016): 1-18.
  11. Abd El Hameed., et al. “Biosorption of uranium and heavy metals using some local fungi isolated from phosphatic fertilizers”. Annals of Agricultural Sciences 60 (2015): 345-351.
  12. Verma A., et al. “Biosorption of Cu (II) using free and immobilized biomass of Penicillium citrinum”. Ecological Engineering 61 (2013): 486-490.
  13. Shumate SEII., et al. “Biological removal of metal ions from aqueous process streams”. Biotechnology and Bioengineering Symposium 8 (1978): 13-20.
  14. Gadd G M. “The uptake of heavy metals by fungi and yeasts: the chemistry and physiology of the process and applications for biotechnology”. in Immobilisation of lons by Bio-sorption (eds. ECCLES, H. H. and HUNT, S.) 135-147. Ellis Horwood, Chichester (1986).
  15. Gadd GM and Fomina M. “Uranium and Fungi”. Geomicrobiology Journal 28 (2011): 471-482.
  16. Liang X., et al. “Uranium phosphate biomineralization by fungi”. Environment Microbiology 17 (2015): 2064-2075.
  17. Silva N da and Junqueira VCA. “Metodos de analise microbiologica de alimentos”. Manual Técnico 229 (1995).
  18. Clesceri LS. “Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater”. American Public Health Association (1998).
  19. Arx J von. “The genera of fungi sporulating in pure culture”. Cramer, Vaduz (1974).
  20. Barron G L.” The genera of Hyphomycetes from soil”. R.E. Krieger (1972).
  21. Kozakiewicz Z. “Aspergillus species on the stored products”. Mycological Papers 161 (1989): 188.
  22. Pitt J I and Hocking AD. “Fungi and Food Spoilage”. Springer US (2009).
  23. Abdollahi A and Buchanan RL. “Regulation of Aflatoxin Biosynthesis: Characterization of Glucose as an Apparent Inducer of Aflatoxin Production”. Journal of Food Science 46 (1981): 143-146.
  24. Degola F., et al. “A multiplex RT-PCR approach to detect aflatoxigenic strains of Aspergillus flavus”. Journal of Applied Microbiology 103 (2007): 409-417.
  25. White TJ., et al. “Amplification and direct sequencing of fungal ribosomal rna genes for phylogenetics”. PCR Protocol (1990): 315-322.
  26. Yilmaz N., et al. “Polyphasic taxonomy of the genus Talaromyces”. Studies in Mycology 78 (2014): 175-341.
  27. Visagie CM., et al. “Identification and nomenclature of the genus Penicillium”. Studies in Mycology 78 (2014): 343-371.
  28. Sambrook J., et al. “Molecular clonig: a laboratory manual”. Cold Spring Harbor: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (1989).
  29. Sharma S and Baboo A. ISC Practical Chemistry. S. Chand and Company PVT.LTD (2008).
  30. Nóbrega F A., et al. “Análise de múltiplas variáveis no fechamento de mina: estudo de caso da pilha de estéril BF-4, Mina Osamu Utsumi, INB Caldas, Minas Gerais”. Rem: Revista Escola de Minas 61 (2008): 197-202.
  31. World Health Organization. Guidelines for drinking-water quality, fourth edition (WHO, 2011).
  32. Scott W J. “Water Relations of Food Spoilage Microorganisms”. Advances in Food Research 7 (1957): 83-127.
  33. Mannaa M and Kim K D. “Influence of temperature and water activity on deleterious fungi and mycotoxin production during grain storage”. Mycobiology 45 (2017): 240-254.
  34. Andersen B., et al. “Associations between fungal species and water-damaged building materials”. Applied Environment and Microbiology 77 (2011): 4180-4188.
  35. Coelho E., et al. “Resistant fungi isolated from contaminated uranium mine in Brazil shows a high capacity to uptake uranium from water”. Chemosphere 126068 (2020).
  36. Banning A., et al. “Drinking Water Uranium and Potential Health Effects in the German Federal State of Bavaria”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14 (2017): 927.
  37. Navratil J D. “Advances in treatment methods for uranium contaminated soil and water”. Archives of Oncology 9 (2001): 257-260.
  38. Weir E. “Uranium in drinking water, naturally”. CMAJ 170 (2004): 951-2 (2004).
  39. Wagner S E., et al. “Groundwater uranium and cancer incidence in South Carolina”. Cancer Causes Control 22 (2011): 41-50.
  40. Radespiel-Tröger M and Meyer M. “Association between drinking water uranium content and cancer risk in Bavaria, Germany”. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 86 (2013): 767-776.
  41. Gessler NN., et al. “Melanin Pigments of Fungi under Extreme Environmental Conditions (Review)”. Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology 50 (2014): 105-113.
  42. Mohammadian E., et al. “Tolerance to heavy metals in filamentous fungi isolated from contaminated mining soils in the Zanjan Province, Iran”. Chemosphere 185 (2017): 290-296.
  43. Ezzouhri L., et al. “Heavy metal tolerance of filamentous fungi isolated from polluted sites in Tangier, Morocco”. African Journal of Microbiology Research 3 (2009): 35-48.
  44. Iram S., et al. “Heavy Metal Tolerance of Fungus Isolated from Soil Contaminated with Sewage and Industrial Wastewater”. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies 22 (2013): 691-697.
  45. Zafar S., et al. “Metal tolerance and biosorption potential of filamentous fungi isolated from metal contaminated agricultural soil”. Bioresource Technology 98 (2007): 2557-2561.
  46. Li M., et al. “Combined Application of Rice Straw and Fungus Penicillium Chrysogenum to Remediate Heavy-Metal-Contaminated Soil”. Soil and Sediment Contamination: An International Journal 23 (2014): 328-338.
  47. Sana S., et al. “Biosorption of Uranium (VI) from Aqueous Solution by Pretreated Aspergillus niger Using Sodium Hydroxide”. Iranian Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering 34 (2015): 65-74.
  48. Durand A., et al. “Environmental Metabarcoding Reveals Contrasting Belowground and Aboveground Fungal Communities from Poplar at a Hg Phytomanagement Site”. Microbial Ecology 74 (2017): 795-809.
  49. Clocchiatti A., et al. “The hidden potential of saprotrophic fungi in arable soil: Patterns of short-term stimulation by organic amendments”. Applied Soil Ecology 147 (2019).
  50. Bahobil A., et al. “Fungal Biosorption for Cadmium and Mercury Heavy Metal Ions Isolated from Some Polluted Localities in KSA”. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences (IJCMAS) 6 (2017): 2138-2154.
  51. Bengtsson L., et al. “Studies on the biosorption of uranium by Talaromyces emersonii CBS 814.70 biomass”. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 42 (1995): 807-811.
  52. Kata Ş., et al. “Talaromyces aculeatus from acidic environment as a new fungal biosorbent for removal of some reactive textile dyes”. Anadolu University Journal of Science and Technology A-Applied Sciences and Engineering 18 (2017): 521-534.
  53. Svecova L., et al. “Cadmium, lead and mercury biosorption on waste fungal biomass issued from fermentation industry. I. Equilibrium studies”. Separation and Purification Technology 52 (2006): 142-153.
  54. Plumridge A., et al. “The weak acid preservative sorbic acid inhibits conidial germination and mycelial growth of Aspergillus niger through intracellular acidification”. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 70 (2004): 3506-3511.
  55. Babič M N., et al. “Fungal contaminants in drinking water regulation? A tale of ecology, exposure, purification and clinical relevance”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14 (2017): 636.
  56. Deshmukh R., et al. “Diverse Metabolic Capacities of Fungi for Bioremediation”. Indian Journal of Microbiology 56 (2016): 247-264.
  57. Rangel DEN., et al. “Fungal stress biology: a preface to the Fungal Stress Responses special edition”. Current Genetics 61 (2015): 231-238 (2015).
  58. Selbmann L. “Extreme-fungi and the benefits of a stressing life”. Life 9 (2019).


Citation: Ednei Coelho., et al. “Fungi that Survived in a Contaminated Uranium Mine from Brazil". Acta Scientific Microbiology 3.11 (2020): 03-17.


Acceptance rate30%
Acceptance to publication20-30 days

Indexed In

News and Events

  • Certification for Review
    Acta Scientific certifies the Editors/reviewers for their review done towards the assigned articles of the respective journals.
  • Submission Timeline for Upcoming Issue
    The last date for submission of articles for regular Issues is May 30, 2024.
  • Publication Certificate
    Authors will be issued a "Publication Certificate" as a mark of appreciation for publishing their work.
  • Best Article of the Issue
    The Editors will elect one Best Article after each issue release. The authors of this article will be provided with a certificate of "Best Article of the Issue"
  • Welcoming Article Submission
    Acta Scientific delightfully welcomes active researchers for submission of articles towards the upcoming issue of respective journals.

Contact US