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Title: Hazardous waste treatment using fungus enters marketplace

When the announcement was made eight years ago that a common fungus had been found that could degrade a variety of environmental pollutants, the news stirred interest in the scientific community, the private sector, and the general public. Here was the promise of a new technology that might be effective and economical in treating hazardous waste, especially the most recalcitrant of toxic pollutants. Today, commercialization is beginning amid a mixture of optimism and skepticism. The organism in question is white rot fungus, or Phanerochaete chrysosporium, and it belongs to a family of woodrotting fungi common all over North America. The fungi secrete enzymes that break down lignin in wood to carbon dioxide and water--a process called mineralization. These lignin-degrading enzymes are not very discriminating, however. The white rot fungi have been shown to degrade such materials as DDT, the herbicide (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy)acetic acid (2,4,5-T), 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), pentachlorophenol (PCP), creosote, coal tars, and heavy fuels, in many cases mineralizing these pollutants to a significant extent.
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
6190949
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Chemical and Engineering News; (United States); Journal Volume: 71:28
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; CHLORINATED AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS; BIODEGRADATION; COAL TAR; CREOSOTE; DDT; FUNGI; GROWTH; HERBICIDES; NITRO COMPOUNDS; SOILS; DECONTAMINATION; COMMERCIALIZATION; ENZYMES; LIGNIN; MINERALIZATION; REMEDIAL ACTION; TOXIC MATERIALS; AROMATICS; CARBOHYDRATES; CHEMICAL REACTIONS; CLEANING; DECOMPOSITION; HALOGENATED AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS; HAZARDOUS MATERIALS; INSECTICIDES; MATERIALS; ORGANIC CHLORINE COMPOUNDS; ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; ORGANIC HALOGEN COMPOUNDS; ORGANIC NITROGEN COMPOUNDS; OTHER ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; PESTICIDES; PLANTS; POLYSACCHARIDES; PROTEINS; SACCHARIDES; TAR 540220* -- Environment, Terrestrial-- Chemicals Monitoring & Transport-- (1990-); 560300 -- Chemicals Metabolism & Toxicology