Bioremediation for Environmental Pollutants

Fungal Bioremediation of Pollutants

Author(s): Evans C. Egwim*, Oluwafemi A. Oyewole and Japhet G. Yakubu

Pp: 181-237 (57)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815123494123010009

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Advancement in industrialization and urbanization has caused an influx of contaminants into the environment polluting the soil, water, and air. These contaminants come in various forms and structures, including heavy metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, industrial dyes, pharmaceutically active compounds, pesticides, and many other toxic chemicals. The presence of these pollutants in the environment poses a serious threat to living things, including humans. Various conventional methods have been developed to tackle this menace, though effective, are however not safe for the ecosystem. Interestingly, bioremediation has offered a cheap, effective, and environmentally safe method for the removal of recalcitrant pollutants from the environment. White-rot fungi (WRF), belonging to the basidiomycetes, have shown class and proven to be an excellent tool in the bioremediation of the most difficult organic pollutants in the form of lignin. White-rot fungi possess extracellular lignin modified enzymes (LMEs) made up of laccases (Lac), manganese peroxidase (MnP), lignin peroxidase (LiP), and versatile peroxidase (VP) that are not specific to a particular substrate, causes opening of aromatic rings and cleavage of bonds through oxidation and reduction among many other pathways. The physiology of WRF, nonspecificity of LMEs coupled with varying intracellular enzymes such as cytochrome P450 removes pollutants through biodegradation, biosorption, bioaccumulation, biomineralization, and biotransformation, among many other mechanisms. The application of WRF on a laboratory and pilot scale has provided positive outcomes; however, there are a couple of limitations encountered when applied in the field, which can be overcome through improvement in the genome of promising strains.

Keywords: Basidiomycetes, Bioaccumulation, Biodegradation, Biomineralization, Bioremediation, Biosorption, Biotransformation, Fungi, Heavy metals, Industrial dyes, Laccases, Mycoremediation, Peroxidase, Pesticides, Petroleum hydrocarbons, Pharmaceutical products, Pollutants, Oxidation, Synthetic pesticides, White-rot fungi.

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