PRS Publications

Enhanced solubilization of rock phosphate by Penicillium bilaiae in pH-buffered solution culture

Takeda, M. and J.D. Knight. 2006. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 52:1121-1129


Little is known about how pH-buffering capacity affects phosphorus (P) solubilization by Penicillium bilaiae. This study compared solubilization of rock phosphate (RP) by P. bilaiae in nonbuffered (pH 5.0) and buffered (pH 7.0) media. Fungal growth reached the stationary phase around day 12 and was slightly enhanced in the buffered medium. The fungus reduced solution pH from 5.0 to 4.1 in the nonbuffered medium and from 7.0 to 4.9 in the buffered medium by day 12. Phosphorus concentrations increased after day 9 more in the buffered than in the nonbuffered media (53 and 5 mg P x L-1, respectively, on day 12). On day 12, higher concentrations of citric and oxalic acids were detected in the buffered (2.0 and 1.2 g x L-1, respectively) than nonbuffered media (0.5 and 0.04 g x L-1, respectively). Solubilization of RP was simulated without P. bilaiae in solutions equivalent to the nonbuffered and buffered cultures of P. bilaiae grown with RP. After a 24 h incubation, the P concentrations were of similar magnitudes to those observed in the P. bilaiae culture (18 and 47 mg P x L-1, respectively, in the nonbuffered and buffered media). Under increased pH-buffering conditions, the enhanced production of citric and oxalic acids led to significant RP solubilization.

Key Words

phosphorus solubilization, pH buffering, Penicillium bilaiae, citric acid, oxalic acid