An Investigation of Fungal Species in a Heavy Metal-Contaminated Urban Waterway




Nguyen, Kathy Dong-Pho

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Biosorption is a low cost and environmentally friendly form of bioremediation. It has been found to be effective for removing heavy metals from both soil and water. This study focused on the fungal biosorption of specific heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, As, Pb, and Zn) that are common environmental pollutants, as a means to bioremediate pollutants that can be consequences of rapid urbanization and industrialization. Fungal species were collected from contaminated sites along Waller Creek and their ability to biosorb heavy metals was investigated using ICPMS. Results found that Penicillium spp. from Waller Creek site CS was able to best biosorb Zn (110 g Zn/g fungal dry mass), while also performing well with Cr and Pb (4.6 and 4.0 g/g, respectively) and having detectable levels of As and Cd (0.3 and 0.2 g/g, respectively). Ag and Cu were only detected in single replicates, and so are not reliable datapoints. Limitations include bacterial contamination in original cultures from biomass suspensions, inconsistency in methodology as the procedure writing was an ongoing process and breaks within the fungi incubation process where culture conditions could not be checked on as frequently. Further investigation for other fungal species might be able to provide a deeper understanding on how different fungal characteristics affect their heavy metals bioremediation process and replications with varying concentration of heavy metals standard or performing more repeated runs on the ICPMS are suggested to reduce uncertainties in the data.


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