Three-dimensional outgrowth of a wood-rotting fungus added to a contaminated soil from a former gasworks site
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The capability of wood-rotting fungi (WRF) to colonise contaminated soil is an important fungal characteristic in the development of WRF-based soil bioremediation, it is also important to have methods that monitor the presence of the WRF in the soil. In this lab-scale study, it was shown that it was possible to re-capture, localise and identify a brown-rot fungus, Antrodia vaillantii, after it has been inoculated into, and grown in, a contaminated soil from a former gasworks site. The three-dimensional outgrowth of A. vaillantii was monitored by allowing it to grow into fungicide-treated wood baits, temporarily placed in the soil. After two weeks, the baits were withdrawn from the soil and surface sterilised with hydrogen peroxide to favour fungi growing inside baits, i.e., A. vaillantii. After subsequent plating of baits on selective agar medium the presence of A. vaillantii was confirmed with PCR/RFLP. A. vaillantii was found to be viable throughout the 54 days long study and exhibited a surface growth pattern similar to other well-known cord-forming basidiomycetes. Firstly, the upper part of the soil closest to the place of inoculation was colonised, however, over a period of time, the area of colonisation spread deeper into the soil. The detection method employed in the current study gave a conservative estimate of the fungal proliferation and did not require extensive sampling. Its use could be applicable in both applied research, such as soil bioremediation, and in pure microbial ecology studies.