Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 1414–1421 | Cite as

Cyhalothrin biodegradation in Cunninghamella elegans

  • William Palmer-Brown
  • Paula Letícia de Melo Souza
  • Cormac D. MurphyEmail author
Research Article


The insecticide λ-cyhalothrin was incubated with planktonic and biofilm cultures of the fungus Cunninghamella elegans. 19F nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy demonstrated that the compound was initially biosorbed to the biomass and more slowly degraded by the fungus. Furthermore, the presence of trifluoromethyl-containing metabolites was observed. Analysis of culture extracts by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) identified non-fluorinated metabolites that suggested the likely catabolic pathway. The hydroxylated metabolites were probably generated from the action of cytochromes P450 (CYPs), as the presence of CYP inhibitors resulted in the absence of biodegradation. Planktonic cells were measurably faster at degrading the pesticide compared with biofilm.


Fluorine Microbial model Pesticide Cytochrome P450 



Yannick Ortin kindly assisted with the NMR analyses.

Funding information

WPB was funded by the European Commission, grant number FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN-607787. PLMS was funded by the CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) Foundation, Ministry of Education of Brazil, CAPES Foundation/PDSE/Process 88881.131595/2016-01.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3689_MOESM1_ESM.docx (80 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 80 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical ScienceUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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