Incomplete degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil inoculated with wood rotting fungi and their effect on the indigenous soil bacteria.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Soil artificially contaminated with fluorene, phenanthrene, pyrene, and benz[a]anthracene was inoculated with the wood-rotting fungi Pleurotus ostreatus and Antrodia vaillantii. During 12 weeks of incubation, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) degradation and the formation of persistent degradation products were monitored by chemical analysis. In addition, the effect on the indigenous soil bacteria was studied by plate count techniques and by measuring the concentration of bacteria-specific phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs). In both soils inoculated with fungi, the PAH degradation was enhanced compared to the control soil without fungi. The white-rot fungus P. ostreatus accelerated the degradation rate radically the first weeks, while the effect of the brown-rot fungus was more pronounced at later stages during the 12-week study. In a soil with no amendments, the final degradation result was similar to that in the soil with added fungi, although the degradation pattern for the individual PAHs was different. Furthermore, the degradation by P. ostreatus was accompanied by an accumulation of PAH metabolites, that is, 9-fluorenone, benz[a]anthracene-7,12-dione, and two compounds identified as 4-hydroxy-9-fluorenone and 4-oxapyrene-5-one, that was not seen in the other soils. The inoculation with the white-rot fungus also had a large negative effect on the indigenous soil bacteria. This could be an important drawback of using the white-rot fungus P. ostreatus in soil bioremediation since a sequential fungal–bacterial degradation probably is needed for a complete degradation of PAHs in soil. In the soil inoculated with A. vaillantii, on the other hand, no metabolites accumulated, and no negative effects were observed on the indigenous microorganisms.


  • Erik Andersson
  • S Lundstedt
  • Karin Tornberg
  • Y Schnürer
  • L Öberg
  • Bo Mattiasson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Industrial Biotechnology
  • Ecology


  • soil white-rot fungi, hydrocarbon metabolites, polycyclic aromatic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, degradation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1238-1243
JournalRangeland Ecology & Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch