Relatively limited attention has been given to the presence of fungi in the aquatic environment compared to their occurrence in other matrices. Taking advantage and recognizing the biodegradable capabilities of fungi is important, since these organisms may produce many potent enzymes capable of degrading toxic pollutants. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the potential ability of some species of filamentous fungi that occur in the aquatic environment to degrade pesticides in untreated surface water. Several laboratory-scale experiments were performed using the natural microbial population present in the aquatic environment as well as spiked fungi isolates that were found to occur in different water matrices, to test the ability of fungi to degrade several pesticides of current concern (atrazine, diuron, isoproturon and chlorfenvinphos). The results obtained in this study showed that, when spiked in sterile natural water, fungi were able to degrade chlorfenvinphos to levels below detection and unable to degrade atrazine, diuron and isoproturon. Penicillium citrinum, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus terreus and Trichoderma harzianum were found to be able to resist and degrade chlorfenvinphos. These fungi are therefore expected to play an important role in the degradation of this and other pollutants present in the aquatic environment.
- Surface water