Metabolic and oxidation processes used by various species of fungi digest harmful hydrocarbons by breaking down their structures

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"The variety of substances that fungi can digest is extraordinary. Some can live on petroleum, others on the thin films that coat lenses. Silica, magnesium, iron, even plastic are all consumed by one kind or another." (Attenborough 1995:179)

"Eight rapid Poly R-478 dye-decolorizing isolates from The Netherlands were screened in this study for the biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) supplied at 10 mg liter(-1). Several well-known ligninolytic...All of the strains significantly removed anthracene, and nine of the strains significantly removed benzo(a)pyrene...One of the new isolates, Bjerkandera sp. strain Bos 55, was the best degrader of both anthracene and benzo(a)pyrene, removing 99.2 and 83.1% of these compounds after 28 days, respectively." (Field et al., 1992)

"The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of hazardous environmental pollutants, many of which are acutely toxic, mutagenic, or carcinogenic. A diverse group of fungi, includingAspergillus ochraceus, Cunninghamella elegans, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, andSyncephalastrum racemosum, have the ability to oxidize PAHs. The PAHs anthracene, benz[a]anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene, fluoranthene, fluorene, naphthalene, phenanthrene, and pyrene, as well as several methyl-, nitro-, and fluoro-substituted PAHs, are metabolized by one or more of these fungi. Unsubstituted PAHs are oxidized initially to arene oxides,trans-dihydrodiols, phenols, quinones, and tetralones. Phenols andtrans-dihydrodiols may be further metabolized, and thus detoxified, by conjugation with sulfate, glucuronic acid, glucose, or xylose. Although dihydrodiol epoxides and other mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds have been detected as minor fungal metabolites of a few PAHs, most transformations performed by fungi reduce the mutagenicity and thus detoxify the PAHs." (Sutherland, 1992)

The Private Life of PlantsAugust 21, 1995
David Attenborough

Journal article
Biodegradation of chloronaphthalenes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by the white-rot fungus Phlebia lindtneriAppl Microbiol BiotechnolJanuary 27, 2014
T. Mori, S. Kitano, R. Kondo

Journal article
Detoxification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by fungiJournal of Industrial MicrobiologyApril 27, 2005
John B. Sutherland

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