Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 13, pp 5065–5078 | Cite as

Biological agents for 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid herbicide degradation

  • Maria Pilar Serbent
  • Andrey Martinez Rebelo
  • Adilson Pinheiro
  • Adriana Giongo
  • Lorena Benathar Ballod TavaresEmail author


Phenoxy herbicides are the most widely used family of herbicides worldwide. The dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is extensively used as a weed killer on cereal crops and pastures. This herbicide is highly water-soluble, and even after a long period of disuse, considerable amounts of both 2,4-D and its main product of degradation, 2,4 dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP), might be found in nature. Biological decomposition of pesticides is an expressive and effective way for the removal of these compounds from the environment. The role of bacteria as well as the enzymes and genes that regulate the 2,4-D degradation has been widely studied, but the 2,4-D degradation by fungi, especially regarding the ability of white-rot basidiomycetes as agent for its bioconversion, has been not extensively considered. This review discusses the current knowledge about the biochemical mechanisms of 2,4-D biodegradation, focused on the role of white-rot fungi in this process. Finally, the cultivation conditions and medium composition for the growth of 2,4-D-degrading microorganisms are also addressed.


Chlorinated aromatic compounds Bioconversion White-rot fungi Metabolic pathways Catabolic genes 



The authors A. Pinheiro and L.B.B. Tavares are fellowship holders of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sanitary EngineeringState University of Santa CatarinaIbiramaBrazil
  2. 2.Environmental Engineering Graduate ProgramRegional University of BlumenauBlumenauBrazil
  3. 3.Santa Catarina State Agricultural Research and Rural Extension EnterpriseItajaíBrazil

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