A type of bioremediation called mycoremediation uses fungi to clean up contaminated soils, waterways, and even groundwater. In spite of challenging environmental conditions, fungi are well known for their capacity to colonize a wide range of heterogeneous environments and adapt to complex soil matrices. Lead, cadmium, nickel, chromium, mercury, arsenic, copper, boron, iron, and zinc have been successfully removed from coastal habitats, wastewater, and on land by fungi including Pleurotus, Aspergillus, Basidiomycetes, and Trichoderma. It has been demonstrated that using fungi to remove a variety of poisons from contaminated locations is both economical and environmentally friendly.
What Is Mycoremediation, Exactly?
• Mycoremediation is a bioremediation technique that eliminates dangerous pollutants from the environment by utilizing fungi.
• Both macrofungi (such as mushrooms) and filamentous fungi
(such as moulds) can be used for this.
• Enzymes from both classes can break down a variety of pollutants.
• They can easily colonize both biotic and abiotic surfaces, decompose organic materials, and colonize both.
• For soil bioremediation, filamentous fungus are superior to yeasts and bacteria due to a number of distinct characteristics.
• Enzymes and edible or therapeutic mushrooms are examples of remediation byproducts that can be important resources in and of themselves and increase the profitability of cleanup.
• Mycoremediation is therefore a biological technique for reducing, altering, or immobilizing environmental contaminants.
Influencing Parameters For Mycoremediation
Physical and Chemical Features Of Soil
• The chemical-physical characteristics of the soil have a significant influence on the mycoremediation process in general.
• These factors include pH, temperature, water content, and redox potential, which in particular have a significant impact on microbial development and, as a result, on the procedure's success.
• The availability of macro- and micronutrients in the soil, as well as any additional elements that affect microbial metabolism, such as contaminant type and concentration, as well as bioavailability, toxicity, and mobility, all have an impact on the biodegradation activity of microorganisms.
• While nutrients in soil are usually sufficient for microbial growth, they can also be provided in a functional form that serves as an electron donor to hasten the bioremediation process.
Characteristics of the Microorganism's Genetic System
• The genetic characteristics of the microorganism, notably the extracellular and intracellular enzymatic systems, dominate the biodegradation of a toxic chemical.
Concentration of Contaminants
• The level of contamination directly affects the activity of microbes.
• A low concentration could not be sufficient to cause the synthesis of degradative enzymes, while a high concentration might have a variety of negative effects on certain microbial species.
• For instance, filamentous fungi are more resistant to high contaminant concentrations than bacteria because they may build a long mycelial network and produce a lot of unusual enzymes.
Amount of Contaminant in the Body
• Contaminant bioavailability is one of the most important factors that can be enhanced to optimize and hasten biodegradation.
• The mycoremediation of old PAH-contaminated soil has proven this reality.
• Numerous analyses have noted that the synthesis of fungal biosurfactants has the potential to chemically alter or influence pollutant bioavailability.
Process of Mycoremediation
• Mushrooms and other fungi can be utilized to clean a variety of pollutants since they have enzymatic machinery for decomposing waste/contaminants.
• Fungi are a good choice for this job because breakdown is what they do best in the environment.
• Fungi are organic matter's natural decomposers and turn it into soil.
• Mycelium of fungi secretes extracellular enzymes and acids that break down lignin and cellulose, the two main constituents of plant fiber.
• These two chemical compounds can also be broken down by mycelium since they share structural similarities with numerous organic pollutants.
• The key to mycoremediation is pairing the appropriate fungal species with the pollutant because certain fungal strains are more effective at degrading different contaminants.
• Oyster mushrooms and other fungus that break down wood are particularly good at breaking down pollutants like hydrocarbons and pesticides.
• Large hydrocarbon chains can be broken down by fungi into smaller pieces, allowing microorganisms and plants to work on them as well.
Mycoremediation- The Mushroom As A New Tool
• Due to their flavor and protein content, mushrooms have been used as food for a very long time.
• Mushrooms are also known as mycoremediation instruments due to their employment in the remediation of numerous pollutants. Mycoremediation uses the potent enzymes made by mushrooms to break down a variety of substrate and pollutants.
• Mushrooms are employed not just for waste degradation but also as a food item.
• However, because of the harmful materials absorbed, they may absorb the pollution in their mycelium (biosorption process) and are unable to eat it.
• Affordable Technology In fact, this is a direct advantage of Mycoremediation. It is a less expensive technology than other bioremediation methods because it does not require the creation of new homes, buildings, structures, or other materials.
• Simple Accessibility: Since fungal spores are typically cheap and simple to obtain, it is a low-cost strategy.
• Shorter Treatment Period: Fungi will quickly disperse throughout the soil and begin reproducing on their own.
• No Extra Charges: No extra money is needed to start the mycoremediation process. It takes a very small amount of fungus or fungal spores to completely clean the dirty surface.
• Safe Application: Compared to other cleanup approaches, this one is safer because it does not involve excavating and disposal.
• There is no need for Additional Cleanup: Because this method does not produce secondary waste streams, additional cleanup is not necessary. Compared to other technologies, it is easier and safer because no machinery is needed. Both humans and animals are unaffected by the outcomes, which are also non-toxic.
• Reusable Products: The mycoremediation-produced materials are secure and can be used for additional processing, such as land scaling, road underlayment, and other applications.
• This method converts harmful molecules into non-toxic ones, making the products safer for both humans and animals to reuse.
• Quick Results: This process yields results more quickly than older techniques. At the performance site, concentrating on odor improvement and reduction produces noticeable results. Weeks are needed to accomplish this process.
• No Noise Pollution: Because this method doesn't include any construction, machinery, or other loud noises, it is quieter than other options.
• Environmentally friendly method: This approach is organic and doesn't pollute the environment with corrosives or other chemicals.
• Toxic chemicals produced by any contaminant are treated by the fungal system, which ultimately returns the system to its intended function and equilibrium and brings pollutants back into harmony with the ecosystem.
Mycoremediation- Negative Aspects
• Unproven Technology: Because the technology is still new and people prefer to use proven technologies, organizations that wish to employ these services are having trouble selling them.
• Efficiency: Because bio systems fall short of perfection, it is challenging for users to assess and select the optimum strategy for their requirements.
• Toxin Level: The fungi may be in danger of extinction if the level of toxins is too high for them to remove.
It is indisputable that both micro- and macro fungi may break down organic pollutants and lower soil levels of heavy metals. Due to their soil growth morphology, lack of extracellular enzymatic complex specificity, and capacity to utilize hazardous chemicals as a growth substrate, filamentous fungus are more advantageous in bioremediation procedures than other microorganisms. The selection of the appropriate fungal strain and the evaluation of its possible interaction with the contaminated soil microbiota are two key aspects of the design of a soil mycoremediation process that must be taken into account.