Researchers at the Academy of Sciences in the Czech Republic along with collaborators from other Universities in Europe recently released a paper that describes how white rot fungi was effective at reducing the level of PCB contamination in soil.
In addition to the efficiency in PCB removal, attention was given to other important parameters, such as changes in the toxicity and formation of PCB transformation products. Moreover, structural shifts and dynamics of both bacterial and fungal communities were monitored using next-generation sequencing and phospholipid fatty acid analysis.
The best results were obtained with the fungus P. ostreatus, which resulted in PCB removals of 18.5, 41.3 and 50.5% from the bulk, top (surface) and rhizosphere, respectively, of dumpsite soils after 12 weeks of treatment. Numerous transformation products were detected (hydoxylated and methoxylated PCBs, chlorobenzoates and chlorobenzyl alcohols), which indicates that both fungi were able to oxidize and decompose the aromatic moiety of PCBs in the soils. Microbial community analysis revealed that P. ostreatus efficiently colonized the soil samples and suppressed other fungal genera. However, the same fungus substantially stimulated bacterial taxa that encompass putative PCB degraders.
The researchers concluded that the results of their study finally demonstrated the feasibility of using this fungus for possible scaled-up bioremediation applications.