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.
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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