Impact of basidiomycete fungi on the wettability of soil contaminated with a hydrophobic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
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Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) present a challenge to bioremediation because they are hydrophobic, thus influencing the water availability and repellency of soil. The addition of different concentrations of the PAH, anthracene, showed it to induce moderate levels of repellency. We investigated the efficacy of three basidiomycete fungal species on improving the wettability of soil by reducing repellency caused by contamination of soil with 7 ppm anthracene. A microcosm system was used that enabled determination of the impact of fungi on wettability at three locations down a 30 mm deep repacked soil core. Before incubation with fungi, the contaminated soil had a repellency of R = 3.12 ± 0.08 (s.e.). After 28 days incubation, Coriolus versicolor caused a significant reduction in repellency to R = 1.79 ± 0.35 (P < 0.001) for the top section of the soil in a microcosm. Phanerochaete chrysosporium and Phlebia radiata did not influence repellency. None of the fungi had an effect at 20 mm depth.