Growth of the fungus Chaetomium aureum in the presence of lead: implications in bioremediation

  • Flavio Manoel Rodrigues Da Silva Júnior
  • Lisiane Martins Volcão
  • Laiz Coutelle Hoscha
  • Sônia Valéria Pereira
Original Article


Filamentous fungi were isolated from semiarid soil in which the lead (Pb) concentrations were above regulatory limits as determined by the Brazilian standards. Among these fungi, four isolates were tested for their abilities to grow in a culture medium containing lead nitrate. Chaetomium aureum was the species that presented a comparatively better performance including mycelial growth in a lead-containing medium, ability to use pectin as a carbon source, as well as basophilic and thermotolerant properties. The C. aureum inoculum with either activated or inactivated native microbiota was able to reduce the free Pb in soil (61 and 54%, respectively) after 60 days of inoculation. Although the mechanism involved in decreasing water-soluble and exchangeable lead concentrations in soil has not been studied, either the processes of biosorption by organic molecules (called oosporein, produced by this species) or fungal mineral transformation is among its possible explanations. These findings support the use of filamentous fungi as potential tools for the bioremediation of contaminated sites and highlight C. aureum as a promising tool for environmental biotechnology. In addition, the ability of this fungus (collected in a lead-contaminated area) to grow efficiently in the presence of this metal indicates that the bioprospecting strategy of the indigenous microbiota should be encouraged, as they appear to be more likely to succeed.


Microcosm Brazilian semiarid Soil contamination Trace metal Filamentous fungi 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Flavio Manoel Rodrigues Da Silva Júnior
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lisiane Martins Volcão
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laiz Coutelle Hoscha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sônia Valéria Pereira
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratório de Ensaios Farmacológicos e Toxicológicos, Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – FURGRio GrandeBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós Graduação em Ciências da SaúdeUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG)Rio GrandeBrazil
  3. 3.Instituto de Tecnologia de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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