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Effect Of Heavy Metals On Saprotrophic Soil Fungi

P. Baldrian
Published 2010 · Chemistry

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Heavy metals represent an important group of soil pollutants that contribute to the formation of specific “toxic” habitats characterized by alterations in the relative abundances of soil bacteria and fungi, changes in fungal community composition, and interference with environmental processes of soil organic matter transformation. They also contribute to the heterogeneity of soil, forming microhabitats that are toxic to varying degrees within the soil ecosystem or soil profile. Saprotrophic fungi are especially sensitive to heavy metals since they rely heavily on extracellular enzymes for nutrient acquisition (ligninolytic, cellulolytic, and hemicellulolytic enzymes, as well as several others), and these enzymes are often a target of heavy metal toxicity. To cope with heavy metal toxicity, fungi have evolved a set of response mechanisms that limit the toxicity of the metal to their cells. In addition, saprotrophic and mycorrhizal fungi are also the biogenic agents of metal mobilization from minerals and immobilization into novel, mycogenic minerals, such as metal oxalates.
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