, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 359–369 | Cite as

Enhancement of bioconversion of high-molecular mass polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in contaminated non-sterile soil by litter-decomposing fungi

  • Kari T. SteffenEmail author
  • Sven Schubert
  • Marja Tuomela
  • Annele Hatakka
  • Martin Hofrichter
Original Paper


With the focus on alternative microbes for soil-bioremediation, 18 species of litter-decomposing basidiomycetous fungi were screened for their ability to grow on different lignocellulosic substrates including straw, flax and pine bark as well as to produce ligninolytic enzymes, namely laccase and manganese peroxidase. Following characteristics have been chosen as criteria for the strain selection: (i) the ability to grow at least on one of the mentioned materials, (ii) production of either of the ligninolytic enzymes and (iii) the ability to invade non-sterile soil. As the result, eight species were selected for a bioremediation experiment with an artificially contaminated soil (total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentration 250 mg/kg soil). Up to 70%, 86% and 84% of benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, and dibenzo(a,h)anthracene, respectively, were removed in presence of fungi while the indigenous microorganisms converted merely up to 29%, 26% and 43% of these compounds in 30 days. Low molecular-mass PAHs studied were easily degraded by soil microbes and only anthracene degradation was enhanced by the fungi as well. The agaric basidiomycetes Stropharia rugosoannulata and Stropharia coronilla were the most efficient PAH degraders among the litter-decomposing species used.


Agrocybe Biodegradation Litter-decomposing fungi Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Soil bioremediation Stropharia 





Lignin peroxidase


Lipid peroxidation


Litter-decomposing fungi


Manganese peroxidase


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


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The work was financed by the Helsinki University Environmental Research Center (HERC), the Academy of Finland research grants 52063, 106213 and 209079, and the grant for the Centre of Excellence “Microbial Resources”. We thank G. Liepelt (International Graduate School of Zittau) for excellent technical assistance and the PAH analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kari T. Steffen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sven Schubert
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marja Tuomela
    • 1
  • Annele Hatakka
    • 1
  • Martin Hofrichter
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Chemistry and MicrobiologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Chair of Environmental BiotechnologyInternational Graduate School ZittauZittauGermany
  3. 3.Chair for Process BiotechnologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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