Characterization of Aspergillus Niger for Removal of Copper and Zinc from Swine Wastewater

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Title: Characterization of Aspergillus Niger for Removal of Copper and Zinc from Swine Wastewater
Author: Price, Michael Scott
Advisors: Gary A. Payne, Co-Chair
John J. Classen, Co-Chair
Margaret E. Daub, Member
Abstract: The United States has experienced a recent boom in pork production. Associated with this growth has been a shift from traditional small family farm units to large confined housing operations. North Carolina, with 9.5 million swine, has been the leader in the development of large, efficient swine operations and is second only to Iowa in pork production. This change has resulted in production of more swine on less land and an increase in animal waste application to adjoining farm land. The repeated application of swine waste may result in increased accumulation of copper and zinc in soils. There is concern that these two metals, which are added to swine feed, will accumulate to phytotoxic levels in agricultural soils. The objective of the research described in this thesis was to investigate the ability of fungi to remove copper and zinc from swine wastewater. The imperfect fungus Aspergillus niger was found to be the most resistant (of six fungi examined) to copper, and the one best able to remove copper from culture media and swine wastewater. A. niger was able to remove as much as 91% of the copper and 70% of the zinc from hog wastewater collected from an aerobic/anaerobic swine waste treatment facility. Interestingly, the majority of the copper and zinc removed by the fungus was by absorption. Absorption of metal by fungi has not been reported as a useful method for bioremediation. These studies show that A. niger is a promising candidate for the removal of copper and zinc from swine wastewater.
Date: 2000-04-13
Degree: MS
Discipline: Plant Pathology

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