SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS

Main Factors Determining the Scale-Up Effectiveness of Mycoremediation for the Decontamination of Aliphatic Hydrocarbons in Soil

Journal of Fungi (2023)

by Rafael Antón-Herrero, Carlos García-Delgado, Enrique Eymar (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Ilaria Chicca (Novobiom), Silvia Crognale, Davide Lelli, Maurizio Petruccioli, Alessandro D’Annibale (University of Tuscia), Romina Mariel Gargarello, Jofre Herrero (Eurecat), Anko Fischer (Isodetect), Laurent Thannberger (Valgo)

Soil contamination constitutes a significant threat to the health of soil ecosystems in terms of complexity, toxicity, and recalcitrance. Among all contaminants, aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons (APH) are of particular concern due to their abundance and persistence in the environment and the need of remediation technologies to ensure their removal in an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable way. Soil remediation technologies presently available on the market to tackle soil contamination by petroleum hydrocarbons (PH) include landfilling, physical treatments (e.g., thermal desorption), chemical treatments (e.g., oxidation), and conventional bioremediation. The first two solutions are costly and energy-intensive approaches. Conversely, bioremediation of on-site excavated soil arranged in biopiles is a more sustainable procedure. Biopiles are engineered heaps able to stimulate microbial activity and enhance biodegradation, thus ensuring the removal of organic pollutants. This soil remediation technology is currently the most environmentally friendly solution available on the market, as it is less energy-intensive and has no detrimental impact on biological soil functions. However, its major limitation is its low removal efficiency, especially for long-chain hydrocarbons (LCH), compared to thermal desorption. Nevertheless, the use of fungi for remediation of environmental contaminants retains the benefits of bioremediation treatments, including low economic, social, and environmental costs, while attaining removal efficiencies similar to thermal desorption. Mycoremediation is a widely studied technology at lab scale, but there are few experiences at pilot scale. Several factors may reduce the overall efficiency of on-site mycoremediation biopiles (mycopiles), and the efficiency detected in the bench scale. These factors include the bioavailability of hydrocarbons, the selection of fungal species and bulking agents and their application rate, the interaction between the inoculated fungi and the indigenous microbiota, soil properties and nutrients, and other environmental factors (e.g., humidity, oxygen, and temperature). The identification of these factors at an early stage of biotreatability experiments would allow the application of this on-site technology to be refined and fine-tuned. This review brings together all mycoremediation work applied to aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons (APH) and identifies the key factors in making mycoremediation effective. It also includes technological advances that reduce the effect of these factors, such as the structure of mycopiles, the application of surfactants, and the control of environmental factors.

Assessment of Different Spent Mushroom Substrates to Bioremediate Soils Contaminated with Petroleum Hydrocarbons

Applied Sciences (2022)

by R. Antón-Herrero; C. García-Delgado, N. Baena; B. Mayans; L. Delgado-Moreno, E. Eymar (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Bioremediation techniques are being developed as substitutes for physical–chemical methodologies that are expensive and not sustainable. For example, using the agricultural waste spent mushroom substrate (SMS) which contains valuable microbiota for soil bioremediation. In this work, SMSs of four cultivated fungal species, Pleurotus eryngii, Lentinula edodes, Pleurotus ostreatus, and Agaricus bisporus were evaluated for the bioremediation of soils contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs). The bioremediation test was carried out by mixing the four different SMSs with the TPH-contaminated soil in comparison with an unamended soil control to assess its natural attenuation. To determine the most efficient bioremediation strategy, hydrolase, dehydrogenase, and ligninolytic activities, ergosterol content, and percentage of TPHs degradation (total and by chains) were determined at the end of the assay at 40 days. The application of SMS significantly improved the degradation of TPHs with respect to the control. The most effective spent mushroom substrate to degrade TPHs was A. bisporus, followed by L. edodes and P. ostreatus. Similar results were obtained for
the removal of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. The results showed the effectiveness of SMS to remove aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons from C10 to C35. This work demonstrates an alternative to valorizing an abundant agricultural waste as SMS to bioremediate contaminated soils.

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