The biomineralization of carbonate minerals, such as calcite, vaterite, aragonite, siderite, and dolomite, is an intensively studied phenomenon due to its practical application. This work aimed at studying carbonate-precipitating fungi isolated from a calthemite straw stalactite growing from a concrete ceiling of a building. The isolates were molecularly identified as the ascomycetes Paecilomyces inflatus and Plectosphaerella cucumerina. After 6 months of laboratory incubation, P. inflatus and P. cucumerina showed rates of CaCO 3 precipitation of 15.68 and 16.28 g L −1 , respectively. A diffuse network of fungal hyphae, clothed with micrometric and well-formed crystals, was observed by SEM. XRD analysis of the precipitated crystals showed that vaterite and calcite crystals were associated with P. inflatus hyphae, whereas pure calcite crystals were observed in the presence of P. cucumerina. P. inflatus and P. cucumerina grew within pH ranges of 3–11 and 4 to 12, respectively. Furthermore, both microorganisms were able to precipitate pyromorphite and hydrocerussite when cultivated in broth amended with Pb 2+ . Such strains seem to represent particularly suitable candidates for concrete healing, bioremediation processes and soil and sand consolidation. To our best knowledge, this is the first time that P. inflatus and P. cucumerina are described as fungal species capable of biomineralizing carbonates.
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