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Bioremediation Abilities of Antarctic Fungi

  • María Martha Martorell
  • Lucas Adolfo Mauro Ruberto
  • Lucía Inés Figueroa de Castellanos
  • Walter Patricio Mac Cormack
Chapter

Abstract

As a consequence of human activities in Antarctica, the use of fuels (for transportation and energy production), waste incineration, sewage production, and accidental oil spills are considered the main sources of anthropogenic contaminants in this extremely cold environment. Also, heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, and other persistent pollutants can reach the Antarctic continent through aerial transportation and marine currents. Nevertheless, Antarctica is one of the best places when looking for cold-adapted fungi with bioremediation abilities. The focus of this book chapter is the study of yeasts isolated from Antarctica and their possible use for bioremediation. Special attention is given to two groups: firstly, yeasts able to assimilate phenol and tolerate all tested heavy metal, as they could be valuable as inoculant for wastewater treatment in cold environments, and secondly, yeasts able to assimilate n-hexadecane and produce lipase and esterase, as these enzymes are related with the bioremediation of aliphatic hydrocarbons. One selected yeast, Pichia caribbica, is able to assimilate several n-alkanes and diesel fuel and also produce lipase and esterase. These combined with its high level of biomass production and the extended exponential growth phase make it a promising tool for cold environment biotechnological purposes in the field of cold enzyme production and oil spill bioremediation as well. This review provides an insight into the analysis of psychrophilic/psychrotolerant pollutant-degrading yeast isolated from a peculiar cold and isolated region: Antarctica. Next step should be focused on in situ experimentation in Antarctica, with the aim to make human presence there as imperceptible as possible and to maintain the primeval characteristics of its biodiversity and environment.

Keywords

Contamination Biological treatment Antarctica Psychrophiles Psychrotolerant Yeasts 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Martha Martorell
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lucas Adolfo Mauro Ruberto
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lucía Inés Figueroa de Castellanos
    • 4
    • 5
  • Walter Patricio Mac Cormack
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto Antártico Argentino (IAA)Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Universidad de Buenos AiresCiudad Autónoma de Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Instituto de Nanobiotecnología (NANOBIOTEC-UBA-CONICET)Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Planta Piloto de Procesos Industriales Microbiológicos (PROIMI-CONICET)San Miguel de TucumánArgentina
  5. 5.Universidad Nacional de Tucumán (UNT)San Miguel de TucumánArgentina

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