|Lichens growing on a rock (algae & fungi growing together)|
All kinds of microbes, including Aspergillus can contribute actively to geological phenomena, and central to many such geomicrobial processes are transformations of metals and minerals.
Microbes have a variety of properties that can effect changes in metal speciation, toxicity and mobility, as well as mineral formation or mineral dissolution or deterioration.
Such mechanisms are important components of natural biogeochemical cycles for metals as well as associated elements in biomass, soil, rocks and minerals, e.g. sulfur and phosphorus, and metalloids, actinides and metal radionuclides.
Apart from being important in natural biosphere processes, metal and mineral transformations can have beneficial or detrimental consequences in a human context. Bioremediation is the application of biological systems to the clean-up of organic and inorganic pollution, with bacteria and fungi being the most important organisms for reclamation, immobilization or detoxification of metallic and radionuclide pollutants.
This is a relatively new field of study so we have added a section to the Aspergillus Website (Geomicrobiology on the Aspergillus Website) that contains our collection of articles on Aspergillus taken from this area of research. Some summaries/reviews are linked from the main page but all articles are searchable - there are currently 71 articles in the collection but more will be added.