Fungal-bacterial consortia increase diuron degradation in water-unsaturated systems

Lea Ellegaard-Jensen, Berith Elkær Knudsen, Anders Johansen, Christian Nyrop Albers, Jens Aamand, Søren Rosendahl

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63 Citations (Scopus)


Bioremediation of pesticide-polluted soil may be more efficient using mixed fungal-bacterial cultures rather than the individual strains alone. This may be due to cooperative catabolism, where the first organism transforms the pollutant to products which are then used by the second organism. In addition, fungal hyphae may function as transport vectors for bacteria, thereby facilitating a more effective spreading of degrader organisms in the soil. A more rapid mineralization of the phenylurea herbicide diuron was found in sand with added microbial consortia consisting of both degrading bacteria and fungi. Facilitated transport of bacteria by fungal hyphae was demonstrated using a system where herbicide-spiked sand was separated from the consortium by a layer of sterile glass beads. Several fungal-bacterial consortia were investigated by combining different diuron-degrading bacteria (Sphingomonas sp. SRS2, Variovorax sp. SRS16, and Arthrobacter globiformis D47) and fungi (Mortierella sp. LEJ702 and LEJ703). The fastest mineralization of 14C-labeled diuron was seen in the consortium consisting of Mortierella LEJ702, Variovorax SRS16, and A. globiformis D47, as measured by evolved 14CO 2. In addition, the production of diuron metabolites by this consortium was minimal. Analyses of 16S rDNA suggested that bacteria were transported more efficiently by LEJ702 than by LEJ703. Finally, it was determined that the fungal growth differed for LEJ702 and LEJ703 in the three-member consortia. This study demonstrates new possibilities for applying efficient fungal-bacterial consortia for bioremediation of polluted soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-705
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Biodegradation
  • Fungal highway
  • Microbial consortia
  • Pesticide
  • Phenylurea herbicide
  • Synergistic interactions

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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