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American Journal of Environmental Sciences
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 5  |  Issue: 3  |  Page No.: 364 - 370

Bioaccumulation of Arsenic by Fungi

Ademola O. Adeyemi    

Abstract: Problem Statement: Arsenic is a known toxic element and its presence and toxicity in nature is a worldwide environmental problem. The use of microorganisms in bioremediation is a potential method to reduce as concentration in contaminated areas. Approach: In order to explore the possible bioremediation of this element, three filamentous fungi-Aspergillus niger, Serpula himantioides and Trametes versicolor were investigated for their potential abilities to accumulate (and possibly solubilize) arsenic from an agar environment consisting of non buffered mineral salts media amended with 0.2, 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8% (w/v) arsenopyrite (FeAsS). Growth rates, dry weights, arsenic accumulation and oxalate production by the fungi as well as the pH of the growth media were all assessed during this study. Results: There was no visible solubilization of FeAsS particles underneath any of the growing fungal colonies or elsewhere in the respective agar plates. No specific patterns of growth changes were observed from the growth ratios of the fungi on agar amended with different amounts of FeAsS although growth of all fungi was stimulated by the incorporation of varying amounts of FeAsS into the agar with the exception of A. niger on 0.4% (w/v) amended agar and T. versicolor on 0.8% (w/v) amended agar. The amounts of dry weights obtained for all three fungi also did not follow any specific patterns with different amounts of FeAsS and the quantities obtained were in the order A. niger > S. himantioides > T. versicolor. All fungi accumulated as in their biomasses with all amounts of FeAsS although to varying levels and T. versicolor was the most effective with all amounts of FeAsS while A. niger was the least effective. Conclusion: The accumulation of arsenic in the biomasses of the test fungi as shown in this study may suggested a role for fungi through their bioaccumulating capabilities as agents in the possible bioremediation of arsenic contaminated environments.

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