Fungal biodegradation of anthracene-polluted cork: A comparative study

Jové, Patricia
Olivella, Maria A.
Camarero, Susana
Caixach, Josep
Planas, Carles
de Las Heras, Francesc X.
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The efficiency of cork waste in adsorbing aqueous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has been previously reported. Biodegradation of contaminated cork using filamentous fungi could be a good alternative for detoxifying cork to facilitate its final processing. For this purpose, the degradation efficiency of anthracene by three ligninolytic white-rot fungi (Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Irpex lacteus and Pleurotus ostreatus) and three non-ligninolytic fungi which are found in the cork itself (Aspergillus Niger, Penicillium simplicissimum and Mucor racemosus) are compared.Anthracene degradation by all fungi was examined in solid-phase cultures after 0, 16, 30 and 61 days. The degradation products of anthracene by P. simplicissimum and I. lacteus were also identified by GC-MS and a metabolic pathway was proposed for P. simplicissimum. Results show that all the fungi tested degraded anthracene. After 61 days of incubation, approximately 86%, 40%, and 38% of the initial concentration of anthracene (i.e., 100 μM) was degraded by P. simplicissimum, P. chrysosporium and I. lacteus, respectively. The rest of the fungi degraded anthracene to a lesser extent (<30%). As a final remark, the results obtained in this study indicate that P. simplicissimum, a non-ligninolytic fungi characteristic of cork itself, could be used as an efficient degrader of PAH-contaminated cork ​
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