Phosphorus is an unwanted component of iron ore. Its removal from Nigeria’s Agbaja iron ore by solubilization with Eurotium herbariorum isolated from the ore samples has been achieved using the submerged culture technique. Result obtained shows 61.48% removal of P in 10 weeks through the biomass growth and activities of the filamentous fungus. The biomass dry weight of the fungus increased from an initial 1 g (dry weight of inoculums) to a maximum 3.021 g weight in 3 weeks only to drop to 0.486 g by the end of experiment. The ability of the fungus to metabolize the phosphorus in ore was noticed to increase with biomass weight but hindered over time. Extended duration of degradation after 7th week did not necessarily bring about more P removal. Phosphorus utilization by the fungus resulted in its growth and concomitant production of acidic metabolic products and adsorption of detectable concentrations of iron, copper, lead, zinc, cadmium and manganese from the ore samples. It is therefore suggestive that the fungus activity can enhance the purity of ores and if the metabolic wastes associated with the process are timely and well managed, it is possible degradation could be continuous in view of microbial exponential growth rate.
Key words: Phosphorus, removal, iron ore, Eurotium herbariorum, broth, inoculation
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