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Insights into the development of fungal biomarkers for metal ecotoxicity assessment: Case of Trametes versicolor exposed to copper



The relationship between the physiological state of fungi and the response of their functional system to metals is not known, limiting the use of fungal enzymes as tools for assessing metal ecotoxicity in terrestrial ecosystems. The present study attempts to establish how the development phases modulate the secretion of enzymes in the filamentous fungus Trametes versicolor after exposure to Cu. For that purpose, extracellular hydrolases (acid and alkaline phosphatases, aryl-sulfatase, β-glucosidase, β-galactosidase, and N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase) and oxidoreductases (laccase, manganese and lignin peroxidases) were monitored in liquid cultures for 2 weeks. Copper was added during either the growth or the stationary phases at 20 or 200 ppm. Results of the present study showed that Cu at the highest concentration modifies the secretion of enzymes, regardless of the development phase to which the fungus was exposed. However, the sensitivity of enzyme responses to Cu depended on the phase development and the type of secreted enzyme. In a general way, the production of hydrolases was decreased by Cu, whereas that of oxidoreductases was highly increased. Furthermore, lignin peroxidase was not detected in control cultures and was specifically produced in the presence of Cu. In conclusion, fungal oxidoreductases may be enzymatic biomarkers of copper exposure for ecotoxicity assessment. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:902–908. © 2009 SETAC