Enzymatic characterization of Chilean native wood-rotting fungi for potential use in the bioremediation of polluted environments with chlorophenols

Research paper by G. R. Tortella, O. Rubilar, L. Gianfreda, E. Valenzuela, M. C. Diez

Indexed on: 19 Jul '08Published on: 19 Jul '08Published in: World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology


This work presents a preliminary report of a series of studies on the ability of several indigenous wood-rotting fungi from Chile to produce hydrolytic and ligninolytic enzymes and the evaluation of these native microorganism to future research on potential applications in bioremediation programs. Wood-rotting Basidiomycete fungi were collected from indigenous hardwood forest in the South of Chile. Twenty-eight strains were identified and qualitative enzymatic tests for peroxidases, laccase, tyrosinase, xylanase and cellulase production were performed in solid medium. Eleven selected strains were evaluated in liquid medium to quantify their ligninolytic enzyme production and their capacity to grow in solid medium supplemented with 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCF), 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (2,4,6-TCF) and pentachlorophenol (PCP). PCP degradation and ligninolytic enzymes production were also evaluated in liquid medium. Results showed that laccase was present in 28 of the selected strains (≈73%). Peroxidase was present in 40% and cellulase in 37% of the strains. Xilanase and tyrosinase were obtained in a smaller percentage in the strains (28% and 7%, respectively). The 11 selected strains showed high concentrations of lignin peroxidase (Lip) and manganese peroxidase (MnP). Anthracophyllum discolor (Sp4), produced LiP and MnP at 90.3 and MnP 125.5 U L−1 respectively, compared to the control fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium CECT-2798 that produced 58.1 and 118.4 U L−1 of LiP and MnP. Tolerance test showed that native Chilean fungi did not present high tolerance to 2,4,6-TCF and PCP but were quite tolerant to 25 and 50 mg L−1 of 2,4-DCF. However, pre-acclimatization in 2,4-DCP notably improved the growth in medium with 2,4,6-TCP and PCP. PCP in liquid medium was efficiently degraded by the fungi Anthracophyllum discolor, Lenzites betulina (Ru-30) and Galerina patagónica (Sp3), and the major MnP activity was produced by A. discolor (Sp4) (67 U L−1).