MSc Candidate, Mr. Achiya Livne, M.Sc. Candidate (Haifa Campus)
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Tehchnion.
The phenomenon of Biomineralization in fungi was previously studied mainly from the aspect of soil bioremediation and geomycology. In this research we structurally investigate the minerals precipitated by the fungi to decipher their influences on the mineral. To this end the fungi were grown in a standard solution containing the necessary nutrients. Five different species of fungi were grown including macro fungi (cup mushrooms) and micro fungi. Various soluble metal salts were added to the solutions. The precipitated minerals were characterized by means of HRSEM, EDS, synchrotron radiation XRD and TEM. In some systems we observed a difference in morphology and in others different minerals when grown in the presence of fungi as compared to the control. We also observed that in some cases the fungi clearly templated the crystal growth. The latter was further studied by growing CaCO3 in the presence of fungi in hydrothermal conditions in order to accelerate the long process. Curved hexagonal needles of aragonite with high aspect ratio precipitated in this case, instead of calcite rhombs when no fungi were present. This study clearly shows that fungi can influence the crystals’ morphology and polymorph. This fungi-assisted control over morphology and orientation might offer us novel routes to synthetically control polymorph and morphology of crystals.