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Effective bioremediation of heavy metal–contaminated landfill soil through bioaugmentation using consortia of fungi

Hassan, Auwalu, Periathamby, Agamuthu, Ahmed, Aziz, Innocent, Ossai, Hamid, Fauziah Shahul
Journal of soils and sediments 2020 v.20 no.1 pp. 66-80
Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, bioaugmentation, chemical bonding, decontamination, fungal growth, heavy metals, landfills, lead, monitoring, nickel, physicochemical properties, polluted soils, public health, soil pollution, zinc
PURPOSE: Heavy metals’ contamination of soil is a serious concern as far as public health and environmental protection are concerned. As a result of their persistent and toxic properties, heavy metals need to be removed from contaminated environments using an efficient technology. This study is aimed to determine the heavy metals’ (Ni, Pb, and Zn) bioremoval capacity of consortia of filamentous fungi from landfill leachate-contaminated soil. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Three different groups of consortia of fungi, namely all isolated fungi, Ascomycota, and Basidiomycota, were employed for the bioremediation of the contaminated soil. A total of thirteen fungal species were used to make up the three consortia. The setup was kept for 100 days during which regular watering was carried out. Soil subsamples were collected at day 20, day 60, and 100 for monitoring of heavy metal concentration, fungal growth, and other physicochemical parameters. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Highest tolerance index of 1.0 was recorded towards Ni and Zn concentrations. The maximum metal bioremoval efficiency was observed for soil bioaugmented with the all isolated fungi for Ni and Pb with the removal efficiencies as 52% and 44% respectively. However, 36% was realized as the maximum removal for Zn, and was for Ascomycota consortium-treated soil. The order for the heavy metal removal for Ni and Pb is all isolated fungi > Basidiomycota > Ascomycota, while for Zn is Basidiomycota > all isolated fungi > Ascomycota. Spectra analysis revealed the presence of peaks (1485–1445 cm⁻¹) only in the consortia-treated soil which corresponded to the bending of the C–H bond which signifies the presence of methylene group. CONCLUSIONS: Soil treated using bioaugmentation had the best heavy metal removal as compared to that of the control. This suggests the contribution of fungal bioaugmentation in the decontamination of heavy metal–contaminated soil.