On-farm biopurification systems: role of white rot fungi in depuration of pesticide-containing wastewaters


Correspondence: Carlos E. Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Centro de Investigación en Contaminación Ambiental, Universidad de Costa Rica, 2060 San José, Costa Rica. Tel.: (506) 2511 8203; fax: (506) 2253 1363; e-mail: carlos.rodriguezrodriguez@ucr.ac.cr


Environmental contamination with pesticides is an undesired consequence of agricultural activities. Biopurification systems (BPS) comprise a novel strategy to degrade pesticides from contaminated wastewaters, consisting of a highly active biological mixture confined in a container or excavation. The design of BPS promotes microbial activity, in particular by white rot fungi (WRF). Due to their physiological features, specifically the production of highly unspecific ligninolytic enzymes and some intracellular enzymatic complexes, WRF show the ability to transform a wide range of organic pollutants. This minireview summarizes the potential participation of WRF in BPS. The first part presents the potential use of WRF in biodegradation of pollutants, particularly pesticides, and includes a brief description of the enzymatic systems involved in their oxidation. The second part presents an outline of BPS, focusing on the elements that influence the participation of WRF in their operation, and includes a summary of the studies regarding the fungal-mediated degradation of pesticides in BPS biomixtures and other solid-phase systems that mimic BPS.