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Curr Biol. 2016 Apr 4;26(7):950-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.01.068. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

Fungal Biomineralization of Manganese as a Novel Source of Electrochemical Materials.

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Geomicrobiology Group, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 5EH, Scotland, UK.
School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, People's Republic of China.
Concrete Technology Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, Scotland, UK.
Geomicrobiology Group, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 5EH, Scotland, UK; Laboratory of Environmental Pollution and Bioremediation, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, People's Republic of China. Electronic address:


Electrical energy storage systems such as rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LiBs) and supercapacitors have shown great promise as sustainable energy storage systems [1-4]. However, LiBs have high specific energy density (energy stored per unit mass) and act as slow, steady suppliers for large energy demands. In contrast, supercapacitors possess high specific power (energy transferred per unit mass per unit time) and can charge and discharge quickly for low energy demands. In LiBs, graphite is the most common anode material, although high electrolyte sensitivity and low charge capacity can limit performance. Efforts have been made to improve LiB or supercapacitor performance using alternative electrode materials such as carbon nanotubes and manganese oxides (MnxOy) [3, 5-14]. Microorganisms play significant roles in metal and mineral biotransformations [15-22]. Fungi possess various biomineralization properties, as well as a filamentous mycelium, which may provide mechanical support for mineral deposition. Although some research has been carried out on the application of biological materials as carbon precursors [8, 9, 23], biomineralizing fungal systems have not been investigated. In this research, novel electrochemical materials have been synthesized using a fungal Mn biomineralization process based on urease-mediated Mn carbonate bioprecipitation [24]. The carbonized fungal biomass-mineral composite (MycMnOx/C) showed a high specific capacitance (>350 F g(-1)) in a supercapacitor and excellent cycling stability (>90% capacity was retained after 200 cycles) in LiBs. This is the first demonstration of the synthesis of electrode materials using a fungal biomineralization process, thus providing a novel strategy for the preparation of sustainable electrochemical materials.


biomineralization; electrochemical materials; fungi; manganese

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