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J Ind Microbiol. 1992 Jan;9(1):53-61.

Detoxification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by fungi.

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Microbiology Division, National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, Arkansas 72079.


The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of hazardous environmental pollutants, many of which are acutely toxic, mutagenic, or carcinogenic. A diverse group of fungi, including Aspergillus ochraceus, Cunninghamella elegans, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Syncephalastrum racemosum, have the ability to oxidize PAHs. The PAHs anthracene, benz[a]anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene, fluoranthene, fluorene, naphthalene, phenanthrene, and pyrene, as well as several methyl-, nitro-, and fluoro-substituted PAHs, are metabolized by one or more of these fungi. Unsubstituted PAHs are oxidized initially to arene oxides, trans-dihydrodiols, phenols, quinones, and tetralones. Phenols and trans-dihydrodiols may be further metabolized, and thus detoxified, by conjugation with sulfate, glucuronic acid, glucose, or xylose. Although dihydrodiol epoxides and other mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds have been detected as minor fungal metabolites of a few PAHs, most transformations performed by fungi reduce the mutagenicity and thus detoxify the PAHs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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