Geomycology: Fungi as agents of biogeochemical change

Geoffrey Michael Gadd (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Geomycology is the study of the roles of fungi in geological processes. The biogeochemical importance of fungi is significant in several areas, including nutrient and element cycling, rock, mineral and metal transformations, bioweathering and mycogenic biomineral formation. Such processes can occur in aquatic and terrestrial habitats, but it is the terrestrial environment where fungi probably have the greatest geochemical influence. Of special significance are the mutualistic relationships with phototrophic organisms: lichens (algae, cyanobacteria) and mycorrhizas (plants). Central to many geomycological processes are transformations of metals and minerals, and fungi possess many properties that effect changes in metal speciation, toxicity and mobility, as well as mineral formation or mineral dissolution or deterioration. Some fungal transformations have potential applications in environmental biotechnology, e.g. metal and radionuclide leaching, recovery, detoxification and bioremediation, and in the production or deposition of biominerals or metallic elements with catalytic or other properties. Metal and mineral transformations may also result in adverse effects when these processes result in spoilage and destruction of natural and synthetic materials, rock and mineral-based building materials (e.g. concrete), biocorrosion of metals, alloys and related substances, and adverse effects on radionuclide speciation, mobility and containment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages5
JournalBiology and Environment
Volume113 B
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2013

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