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Metabolic and oxidation processes break down hydrocarbons: Fungi

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The 8-spored asci of Morchella elata. / Peter G. Wer.. / LicenseGFDL - Gnu Free Document License

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

"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)
About the inspiring organism
Med_800pxmorelasci Fungi

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Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Managing packaging waste and other pollution using products that digest hydrocarbons. Assigning groups of people to tasks they are better adept at accomplishing.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Agriculture, forestry and fishing, Mining and quarrying, Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities

Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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Field JA; de Jong E; Feijoo Costa G; de Bont JA. 1992. Biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by new isolates of white rot fungi. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 58(7): 2219-2226.
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Sutherland, J. B. 1992. Detoxification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by fungi. Journal of Industrial Microbiology. 9(1): 53-61.
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about 1 month ago
I would like to know that as well
over 6 years ago
Are any of these in production as petroleum waste clean-up packages?
1 to 2 of 2 Comments