Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) is a five-ring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon produced by the incomplete combustion of organic materials. It is one of the priority pollutants listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency. This study describes a fungal isolate that is able to biodegrade benzo(a)pyrene. The filamentous fungus, isolated from leaves of Pterocarpus macrocarpus Kurz., was identified as a Fusarium sp. (strain E033). Fusarium sp. E033 was able to survive in the presence of benzo(a)pyrene concentrations up to 1.2 mM (300 mg L-1). Biodegradation experiments using 0.4 mM (100 mg L-1) benzo(a)pyrene demonstrated that Fusarium sp. E033 was able to degrade 65-70% of the initial benzo(a)pyrene provided, and two transformation products, a dihydroxy dihydro-benzo(a)pyrene and a benzo(a)pyrene-quinone, were detected within 30 days of incubation at 32°C. The factors affecting biodegradation efficiency were also investigated. While increasing aeration promoted better fungal growth and benzo(a)pyrene biodegradation, increasing the glucose concentration from 5 to 50 mM had an adverse effect on biodegradation. Ethanol and methanol, provided at 5 mM to increase benzo(a)pyrene water solubility, increased the fungal biomass yield but did not promote degradation. The Fusarium sp. E033 isolated in this study can tolerate and degrade relatively high concentrations of benzo(a)pyrene, suggesting its potential application in benzo(a)pyrene bioremediation.
- Fusarium sp.
- Pterocarpus macrocarpus Kurz.