The Mycosphere as a Hotspot for the Biotransformation of Contaminants in Soil

  • Lukas Y. Wick
  • Hauke Harms
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


In order to cope with heterogeneous environments mycelial fungi have developed a unique network-based growth form. Unlike bacteria, hyphae efficiently spread in heterogeneous habitats such as soil, penetrate air-water interfaces and cross over air-filled pores. Here we discuss the prevalent role of the mycosphere (i.e., the microhabitat that surrounds fungal hyphae and mycelia) as a hotspot for the degradation of organic contaminants. We highlight the impact of hyphal networks on the transport of chemicals and bacteria and discuss its effects on contaminant availability and degradation. Given the ubiquity and length of hyphae, we propose that the mycosphere is a hotspot for contaminant transformation and attenuation in soil.



This work contributes to the research topic Chemicals in the Environment (CITE) within the research program Terrestrial Environment of the Helmholtz Association.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental MicrobiologyHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZLeipzigGermany

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