Data_Sheet_1_Fenton-Mediated Biodegradation of Chlorendic Acid – A Highly Chlorinated Organic Pollutant – By Fungi Isolated From a Polluted Site.docx

Chlorendic acid is a recalcitrant, highly chlorinated organic pollutant for which no microbial degrader has yet been identified. To address this knowledge gap, fungi were isolated from bulk soil, rhizosphere, and roots of the common bent (Agrostis capillaris) and the hybrid poplar [Populus deltoides × (Populus trichocarpa × P. deltoides) cv. Grimminge], both of which grow on a chlorendic acid polluted site in Belgium. Isolates were taxonomically identified and phenotypically screened for chlorendic acid degradation. Several fungal isolates could degrade chlorendic acid in liquid media up to 45%. The chlorendic acid degrading fungal isolates produced higher levels of hydroxyl radicals when exposed to the pollutant when compared to non-exposed controls, suggesting that the oxidative degradation of chlorendic acid occurs through production of Fenton-mediated hydroxyl radicals. In addition, the isolated Ascomycete Penicillium sp. 1D-2a degraded 58% of the original chlorendic acid concentration in the soil after 28 days. This study demonstrates that the presence of fungi in a chlorendic acid polluted soil can degrade this highly chlorinated organic pollutant. These results indicate that recalcitrant, seemingly non-biologically degradable organic pollutants, such as chlorendic acid, can be remediated by using bioremediation, which opens new perspectives for in situ bioremediation.