Understanding fungal functional biodiversity during the mitigation of environmentally dispersed pentachlorophenol in cork oak forest soils

Adelia Varela, Celso Martins, Oscar Nunez, Isabel Martins, Jos A. M. P. Houbraken, Tiago M. Martins, M. Cristina Leitao, Iain McLellan, Walter Vetter, M. Teresa Galceran, Robert A. Samson, Andrew Hursthouse, Cristina Silva Pereira

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is globally dispersed and contamination of soil with this biocide adversely affects its functional biodiversity, particularly of fungi – key colonizers. Their functional role as a community is poorly understood, although a few pathways have been already elucidated in pure cultures. This constitutes here our main challenge – elucidate how fungi influence the pollutant mitigation processes in forest soils. Circumstantial evidence exists that cork oak forests in N. W. Tunisia – economically critical managed forests are likely to be contaminated with PCP, but the scientific evidence has previously been lacking. Our data illustrate significant forest contamination through the detection of undefined active sources of PCP. By solving the taxonomic diversity and the PCP-derived metabolomes of both the cultivable fungi and the fungal community, we demonstrate here that most strains (predominantly penicillia) participate in the pollutant biotic degradation. They form an array of degradation intermediates and by-products, including several hydroquinone, resorcinol and catechol derivatives, either chlorinated or not. The degradation pathway of the fungal community includes uncharacterized derivatives, e.g. tetrachloroguaiacol isomers. Our study highlights fungi key role in the mineralization and short lifetime of PCP in forest soils and provide novel tools to monitor its degradation in other fungi dominated food webs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2922-2934
    JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
    Volume17
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

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