WRF have the ability to degrade a wide variety of pollutants, including organic wood preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, explosives, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorinated solvents, cyanide, polymeric dyes, and others.
Lignin is a natural plant polymer with an exceptionally heterogenous, aromatic structure, the subunits of which are bound by many different types of linkages. Because of its structural complexity, lignin is resistant to degradation by most microbes. White-rot fungi, however, possess biochemical systems for degradation of lignin that are very non-specific (i.e., degrade a wide variety of substrates), as well as extracellular and highly oxidative. These systems also possess reductive components that are involved in the degradation of aromatic substructures that are produced from lignin depolymerization. These biochemical attributes make WRF the most efficient degraders of lignin in nature.
This highly oxidative, aspecific biochemical system has also been shown to confer to WRF the ability to degrade a wide variety of aromatic pollutants, many of which are structurally very similar to lignin depolymerization products. These include organic wood preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, explosives, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorinated solvents, cyanide, polymeric dyes, and others. In addition, WRF are able to degrade a number of chlorinated aliphatics and to reduce hexavalent chromium to the less toxic trivalent state. The ability of WRF to degrade such a wide variety of contaminants makes them attractive bioremediation agents for soils that bear complex mixtures of pollutants, such as those typically found at contaminated sites.
The following papers provide more information regarding the technology: