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The widespread use of atrazine in agriculture has lead to an abundance of this toxic chemical in the environment. Fungi that have the ability to degrade atrazine into less toxic products have been identified and used in the remediation of atrazine. In this study atrazine degradation in a defined liquid media was characterized in a diverse group of white rot basidiomycete and deuteromycete soil fungi. Atrazine did not have an effect on fungal growth although each species produced a different amount of biomass in culture. Statistical analysis showed that biomass production was an important factor in determining the amount of atrazine removed. Two of the twelve fungal species tested, Armillaria gallica and Aspergillus niger, removed amounts of atrazine from culture. Analysis of high pressure liquid chromatography chromatograms did not show the production of atrazine degradation products in fungal cultures that could be differentiated from control chromatograms. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of organic extracts of fungal cultures also indicated that no chlorinated atrazine metabolites were produced in any of the cultures although unidentified compounds were detected in Mycena leaiana, Aspergillus flavus, and Aspergillus niger cultures that may be hydroxylated atrazine metabolites. These data indi cate that atrazine degradation did not occur in most of the fungal cultures and although it may have occurred in Mycena leaiana, Aspergillus flavus, and/or Aspergillus niger, albeit at appreciable levels only in Aspergillus niger and Armillaria gallica. Removal of atrazine from Aspergillus niger and Armillaria gallica cultures might have been due to atrazine sequestration in fungal biomass although the culture conditions might not have been conducive to atrazine degradation.
Presley, Gerald, "Degradation of Atrazine by White Rot and Soil Fungi" (2011). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 34.