Loughborough University scientists have made use of a deadwood eating fungus to recover palladium from industrial wastewater.
The price of palladium, a precious metal 30 times as rare as gold, has risen by more than 50 per cent since August, surpassing the price of gold for the first time since 2001.
According chemical engineering professor Maria Sotenko, the university team has made use of white rot fungus to absorb and treat wastewater, industrial effluents and lab waste that are rich in palladium.
Apart from absorbing palladium, the fungi are also adept at reducing palladium and creating new palladium nanoparticles.
Palladium is mainly used in vehicle exhausts to curb harmful emissions. It could someday find its way into pharmaceuticals and hybrid fuel cells, the researchers note.