Fungi include microorganisms such as yeasts, molds, and mushrooms that play a vital role in the biosphere. It is a member of the eukaryotic organism that has significant economic importance. On the other hand, pollutants are the substance of certain chemicals or waste products that render the air, soil, water, or other natural resources harmful or unsuitable for a specific purpose.
Fungus plays a massive role in removing these pollutants from soil, water, and other environments. The ability of microbes to deal with environmental pollutants can be used to isolate and detoxify them into less harmful forms. The polluted land unfit for agriculture can be remediated via arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMFs) to make it suitable for agriculture.
How can fungus remove pollutants from soil, water, and other environments?
Fungi have been shown to play an essential role in the bioremediation (use of microorganisms to decontaminate polluted areas) of pollutants such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), textile dyes, leather tanning effects of the paper, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides. Many fungal enzymes, like cellulases, xylanases, amylases, proteases, lipases, laccases, peroxidases, catalases, chitinases, etc., have great industrial value and can be used in organic waste management. Their role is not limited to the degradation of natural lignocellulosic substrates; They can also be used in bioremediation that requires the degradation of numerous xenobiotic compounds, including dyes.
Ligninolytic enzymes secreted by white rot fungi are classified into two categories—MPs and LiPs—that can be used for lignin oxidation in fungal cells. Genetic modification could enhance the efficiency of some pollutant-degrading fungi.
Mycelium is one of the most important fungi systems consisting of underground web-like white threads called hyphae. They attach in soil and other moisture-rich environments just as rotting plant stems attach to mycelium to obtain nutrients. It is one of nature's most resilient organisms, capable of resisting fire and water, and it has become a fantastic tool for environmental remediation efforts. The use of fungi for land regeneration after environmental disasters such as wildfires and coastal oil spills is unmistakable.
Short-term incubation of Aspergillus niger and Phanerochaete chrysosporium with petroleum hydrocarbons has shown substantial removal of petrol and diesel pollutants from the soil with total organic carbon (TOC) removal, aiding in bioremediation. Various reports describe the use of different groups of fungi, including Aspergillus, Penicillium, and alkalophilic white-red fungi, for the bioremediation and decolorization of textile dyes, sugar industry wastes, chemicals used in kraft pulp mills, and leather tanning wastes. Substrate preference of this fungus. White-rot fungi produce one or more enzymes, depending on the species and environmental conditions. Laccases produced by white-rot basidiomycetes and certain fungi class II peroxidases are known to degrade organic pollutants.
Earlier the AMFs topic was discussed, where you have learned what it is and what it can do. They contain strong degraders of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, so they can also increase crop yield and nutritional value. Due to their sensitivity to various pollutants, AMFs can also be used in bioassays to test soil and its toxicity levels. It plays a significant role in recycling organic material and is responsible for major spoilage and economic losses of stored food. Some fungi, like mushrooms, can be used as human food.
Chemical reactions include removing oxygen or hydrogen, changing the configuration of chemical bonds, and more. Still, such chemical reactions can, in some cases, turn toxic substances into harmful molecules such as carbohydrates, water, and oxygen. This ability of the fungus to take up toxic substances could also be used to improve recycling and decrease mining by harvesting precious metals from e-waste, wastewater, or naturally occurring deposits. The enzymes they use to do bioremediation are also the ones they usually use to break down lignin, the molecule that helps give plants their rigid structure.
The fungus can also be used in other fields, like many fungi that are used to produce antibiotics and to control diseases in humans and animals, like Penicillin antibiotic is derived from Penicillium. It can exploit insects and other small worms and help control pests like Spores of fungi used as a spray on crops. Hopefully, after reading today's Ramesh Chaurasia news, you can understand how fungus can remove pollutants from soil, water, and other environments.
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