With an aim to develop a highly efficient method for the recovery of rare earth elements (REEs) by using microorganisms, we attempted to isolate dysprosium (Dy)-accumulating microorganisms that grow under acidic conditions from environmental samples containing high concentrations of heavy metals. One acidophilic strain, T9, which was isolated from an abandoned mine, decreased the concentration of Dy in medium that contained 100 mg/liter Dy to 53 mg/liter Dy after 3 days of cultivation at pH 2.5. The Dy content in the cell pellet of the T9 strain was 910 μg/mg of dry cells. The T9 strain also accumulated other REEs. Based on the results of 28S-D1/D2 rRNA gene sequencing and morphological characterization, we designated this fungal strain Penidiella sp. T9. Bioaccumulation of Dy was observed on the cell surface of the T9 strain by elemental mapping using scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Our results indicate that Penidiella sp. T9 has the potential to recover REEs such as Dy from mine drainage and industrial liquid waste under acidic conditions.
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