chapter  9
26 Pages

Fungal Biomolecules for Degradation of Xenobiotics and Ecosystem Management

In recent days, enzyme treatment opens up a new approach for the treatment of diverse environmental pollutants. Naturally, enzymes are most efficient tool for decomposition, soil remediation and breaking down toxic substances. In this purpose, fungi are being investigated for their capacity to degrade recalcitrant environmental pollutants such as aromatic hydrocarbons, hexogen, dyes and pesticides. Due to their ease of colonization, reproduction by numerous spores, and their metabolic versatility, fungi are ideally suited for bioremediation of environmental pollutants, which are difficult to treat by other means. Moreover, enzymes are both economically and environmentally beneficial because they are safely inactivated and create little or no waste; rather than being

discarded, end-product enzymatic material may be treated and used as fertilizer. Enzyme research using fungi has been very active and promising in recent years (Maire et al., 2012). Crude enzyme of fungal strain Fusarium has been identified for the degradation of chlorpyrifos insecticide. Rate of degradation for chlorpyrifos by its intracellular enzyme, extracellular enzyme and cell fragment was calculated as 60.8%, 11.3% and 48%, respectively (Xie et al., 2005). Ligninolytic fungi, which are causing white rot disease in wood have been shown to degrade and mineralize versatile of environmental pollutants due to the non-specificity of their enzyme activity (Pointing, 2001). However, industrial applications of enzymes have delayed due to both fundamental and practical issues, such as enzyme stability and availability (Ayala et al., 2008). Fungal enzymes involved in the remediation of environmental pollutants are listed in Table 9.1.