About this Research Topic
Despite their biochemical and ecological features, fungi are still rarely exploited in environmental biotechnology. One of the main reasons for the under-exploitation of fungi is the reported failure of filamentous fungi in remediation schemes that have been designed and developed for bacteria. At the same time, the application of filamentous fungi is a promising alternative or complement to bacterial-based remediation strategies. Fungal extracellular oxidoreductases and hydrolases are extremely promising for the detoxification and degradation of concentrated pollutants in waste effluents, for which conventional wastewater processes are not efficient, a well as for remediation of soils and sediments contaminated with recalcitrant Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
POPs have chemical structure that are strongly xenobiotic (EDCs, drugs, fragrances, agrochemicals). They are routinely found in trace concentrations in municipal wastewater, but greatly reduce the quality of freshwaters in rivers, lakes, and oceans. While the distinctly xenobiotic structures of POPs are resistant to natural biodegradation pathways of bacteria, the nonspecific nature of hydrolytic and oxidative fungal enzymes have great potential for their degradation.
Despite limitations reported in the literature, there are many examples of fungal-based bioremediation (termed mycoremediation) of environmental contaminations in which filamentous fungi were isolated and used effectively to deplete the contaminants in soils, sediments and aquifers. Mycoremediation has opened a “magic box” of tools and strategies for development for fundamental microbial sciences combined with novel engineering processes for restoration of the environment.
At the same time many bacteria colonizing contaminated matrices can be considered extremotolerant organisms, which can tolerate extreme and/or toxic conditions. In these terms they are capable of adjusting, surviving and/or thriving in hostile habitats eventually inhospitable, or even lethal, for life. Isolating microbes capable surviving in hostile environments can provide microorganisms, enzymes, and biomolecules for diverse applications in biotechnology, including bioremediation and restoration of polluted environments. Knowledge of the physiology and metabolism of these microorganisms can provide information on new metabolic networks and regulatory circuits that are promising building blocks for systems- and synthetic biology. Moreover, these microorganisms, and their related enzymes, will become either chassis or catalysts for the design of new processes, which may produce more competitive bulk products.
This Research Topic welcomes contributions dealing with the isolation, characterization, and development of novel myco- and/or bacterial-based processes based on novel bacterial and fungal isolates and consortia. Bacteria and fungi with interesting oxidative, hydrolytic, and/or catalytic properties that may be applied for the restoration of the environment are extremely important for the future of our planet.
Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the BioBased-remediation for:
- Organic or metal contamination in surface soils and sediments;
- Organic contaminants in water streams (considering also emerging pollutants and contaminant in traces);
- Metal removal from water streams;
- Removal of contaminants from air streams;
- The purification and characterization of extracellular enzymes for biotechnological application;
- The use of microbial enzymes in soil and water bioremediation;
- Bioavailability of organic and inorganics contaminant in soil and water; and
- Ecotoxicological test to evaluate the efficacy of bioremediation treatments.
Keywords: Persistent Organic Pollutants, fragrances, agrochemicals, antibiotics, gaseous emission
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.