Bioremediation of contaminated soils using the white rot fungus: Phanerochaete chrysosporium
Douglas, Michael Scott
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Bioremediation is an enhancement of the natural biological oxidation processes that degrade organic matter. This is typically accomplished by introducing oxygen and nutrients to the soil that are necessary for the desired growth of naturally occurring bacteria. Fungal treatment is a specialized bioremediation process using fungi instead of bacteria to destroy contaminants. Recent interest in fungal treatment has grown due to the ability of 'white rot' fungi to reduce a wide variety of organic and chlorinated organic compounds for which bacterial remediation methods have been ineffective. White rot fungi are wood-decay fungi that digest lignin in wood by the secretion of enzymes, giving wood a bleached appearance. Lignin is a complex polymer that gives structural support to woody plants. The ability to secrete extracellular enzymes enables the reduction of complex organic compounds outside the body of the fungi. Constituents of the lignin degrading system include lignin peroxidase, manganese peroxidase, veratryl alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. In addition to lignin these fungi have been shown to degrade insecticides, herbicides, pentachlorophenol, creosote, coal tars, and heavy fuels. Research has shown that the fungi possess the ability to mineralize those contaminants to carbon dioxide, water, and basic elements. Use of white rot fungi in the treatment of contaminated soil augments the natural system by adding sufficient quantities of the fungal species. This technology can be applied in ex situ and in situ cases. Effective application requires adaptation of laboratory technologies to field conditions by carefully controlling temperature, oxygen, nitrogen level, pH, and moisture content. The development of bioreactors may help overcome some of these stumbling blocks.
This thesis document was issued under the authority of another institution, not NPS. At the time it was written, a copy was added to the NPS Library Collection for reasons not now known. It has been included in the digital archive for its historical value to NPS. Not believed to be a CIVINS (Civilian Institutions) title.
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