Biotransformation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) by ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes

A A Meharg, G R Dennis, J W G Cairney

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37 Citations (Scopus)


The ability of four ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes to biotransform 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) in axenic culture was tested. Al species were capable of TNT biotransformation to a greater or lesser extent. When biotransformation was expressed on a biomass basis 4 out of the 5 isolates tested were equally efficient at transforming TNT. The factors regulating TNT biotransformation were investigated in detail for one fungus, Suillus variegatus. When the fungus was grown under nitrogen limiting conditions the rate of biotransformation decreased relative to nitrogen sufficient conditions, but no decrease was observed under short term carbon starvation. Extracellular enzymes of S. variegatus could transform TNT, but transformation was greater in intact cells. The mycelial cell wall fraction did not degrade TNT. The TNT concentration that caused 50 % reduction in biomass (EC50) for S. variegatus was within the range observed for other basidiomycete fungi being between 2-10 mu g mL(-1). The potential use of ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes as in-situ bioremediation agents for TNT contaminated soils is discussed. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-521
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997


  • basidiomycetes
  • ectomycorrhizal fungi
  • microbial degradation
  • trinitrotoluene
  • fungus phanerochaete-chrysosporium
  • microbial-degradation
  • biodegredation
  • metabolism
  • explosives
  • soils


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