The contamination of coastal marine sediments with heavy metals (HMs) is a widespread phenomenon that requires effective remediation actions. Bioremediation based on the use of bacteria is an economically and environmentally sustainable effective strategy for reducing HM contamination and/or toxicity in marine sediments. However, information on the efficiency of marine-derived fungi for HM decontamination of marine sediments is still largely lacking, despite evidence of the performance of terrestrial fungal strains on other contaminated matrixes (e.g., soils, freshwater sediments, industrial wastes). Here, we carried out for the first time an array of parallel laboratory experiments by using different combinations of chemical and microbial amendments (including acidophilic autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria, as well as filamentous marine fungi) for the bioremediation of highly HM-contaminated sediments of the Portman Bay (NW Mediterranean Sea), an area largely affected by long-term historical discharges of mine tailings. Our results indicate that the bioleaching performance of metals from the sediment is based on the addition of fungi (Aspergillus niger and Trichoderma sp.), either alone or in combination with autotrophic bacteria, was higher when compared to other treatments. In particular, fungal addition allowed obtaining bioleaching yields for As eight times higher than those by chemical treatments and double compared with the addition of bacteria alone. Moreover, in our study, the fungal addition was the only treatment allowing effective bioleaching of otherwise not mobile fractions of Zn and Cd, thus overtaking bacterial treatments. We found that the lower the sediment pH reached by the experimental conditions, as in the case of fungal addition, the higher the solubilization yield of metals, suggesting that the specific metabolic features of A. niger and Trichoderma sp. enable lowering sediment pH and enhance HM bioleaching. Overall, our findings indicate that fungi can be more effective than acidophilic autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria in HM bioleaching, and as such, their use can represent a promising and efficient strategy for the bioremediation of marine sediments highly contaminated with heavy metals.

Fungi Can Be More Effective than Bacteria for the Bioremediation of Marine Sediments Highly Contaminated with Heavy Metals / Dell'Anno, Filippo; Rastelli, Eugenio; Buschi, Emanuela; Barone, Giulio; Beolchini, Francesca; Dell'Anno, Antonio. - In: MICROORGANISMS. - ISSN 2076-2607. - ELETTRONICO. - 10:5(2022), p. 993. [10.3390/microorganisms10050993]

Fungi Can Be More Effective than Bacteria for the Bioremediation of Marine Sediments Highly Contaminated with Heavy Metals

Rastelli, Eugenio;Buschi, Emanuela;Barone, Giulio;Beolchini, Francesca;Dell'Anno, Antonio
2022-01-01

Abstract

The contamination of coastal marine sediments with heavy metals (HMs) is a widespread phenomenon that requires effective remediation actions. Bioremediation based on the use of bacteria is an economically and environmentally sustainable effective strategy for reducing HM contamination and/or toxicity in marine sediments. However, information on the efficiency of marine-derived fungi for HM decontamination of marine sediments is still largely lacking, despite evidence of the performance of terrestrial fungal strains on other contaminated matrixes (e.g., soils, freshwater sediments, industrial wastes). Here, we carried out for the first time an array of parallel laboratory experiments by using different combinations of chemical and microbial amendments (including acidophilic autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria, as well as filamentous marine fungi) for the bioremediation of highly HM-contaminated sediments of the Portman Bay (NW Mediterranean Sea), an area largely affected by long-term historical discharges of mine tailings. Our results indicate that the bioleaching performance of metals from the sediment is based on the addition of fungi (Aspergillus niger and Trichoderma sp.), either alone or in combination with autotrophic bacteria, was higher when compared to other treatments. In particular, fungal addition allowed obtaining bioleaching yields for As eight times higher than those by chemical treatments and double compared with the addition of bacteria alone. Moreover, in our study, the fungal addition was the only treatment allowing effective bioleaching of otherwise not mobile fractions of Zn and Cd, thus overtaking bacterial treatments. We found that the lower the sediment pH reached by the experimental conditions, as in the case of fungal addition, the higher the solubilization yield of metals, suggesting that the specific metabolic features of A. niger and Trichoderma sp. enable lowering sediment pH and enhance HM bioleaching. Overall, our findings indicate that fungi can be more effective than acidophilic autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria in HM bioleaching, and as such, their use can represent a promising and efficient strategy for the bioremediation of marine sediments highly contaminated with heavy metals.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11566/314614
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