G.S. de Hoog
- Isolation and screening of black fungi as degraders of volatile aromatic hydrocarbons
- Volume | Issue number
- 175 | 5-6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Black fungi reported as degraders of volatile aromatic compounds were isolated from hydrocarbon-polluted sites and indoor environments. Several of the species encountered are known opportunistic pathogens or are closely related to pathogenic species causing severe mycoses, among which are neurological infections in immunocompetent individuals. Given the scale of the problem of environmental pollution and the phylogenetic relation of aromate-degrading black fungi with pathogenic siblings, it is of great interest to select strains able to mineralize these substrates efficiently without any risk for public health. Fifty-six black strains were obtained from human-made environments rich in hydrocarbons (gasoline car tanks, washing machine soap dispensers) after enrichment with some phenolic intermediates of toluene and styrene fungal metabolism. Based on ITS sequencing identification, the majority of the obtained isolates were members of the genus Exophiala. Exophiala xenobiotica was found to be the dominant black yeast present in the car gasoline tanks. A higher biodiversity, with three Exophiala species, was found in soap dispensers of washing machines. Strains obtained were screened using a 2,6-dichlorophenol-indophenol (DCPIP) assay, optimized for black fungi, to assess their potential ability to degrade toluene. Seven out of twenty strains tested were able to use toluene as carbon source.
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