A huge amount of hazardous organopollutants, often persistent and toxic, is produced annually over the world and may contaminate soil, water, ground water, and air. Being from various sources such as wastewater, landfill leachates, and solid residues, xenobiotics include phenols, plastics, hydrocarbons, paints, dyes, pesticides and insecticides, paper and pulp mills, and pharmaceuticals. Among biological processes for degradation of xenobiotics, fungal ones, being eco-friendly and cost cheap, have been investigated extensively because most of basidiomycetes are more tolerant to high concentrations of pollutants. Fungal bioremediation is a promising technology using their metabolic potential to remove or reduce xenobiotics. Basidiomycetes are the unique microorganisms that show high capacities of degrading a wide range of toxic xenobiotics. They act via the extracellular ligninolytic enzymes, including laccase, manganese peroxidase, and lignin peroxidase. Their capacities to remove xenobiotic substances and produce polymeric products make them a useful tool for bioremediation purposes. During fungal remediation, they utilize hazardous compounds, even the insoluble ones, as the nutrient source and convert them to simple fragmented forms. The aim of this chapter is to elucidate the ability of basidiomycetes to degrade xenobiotics. This is an overview to present the importance of extracellular enzymes for efficient bioremediation of a large variety of xenobiotics.
Part of the book: Management of Hazardous Wastes