Fungal Bioremediation of Emerging Micropollutants in Municipal Wastewaters

  • Federica Spina
  • Giovanna Cristina VareseEmail author
Part of the Fungal Biology book series (FUNGBIO)


Nowadays, the presence of emerging micropollutants is one of the main issues related to the release of municipal wastewaters into the environment. Considering that wastewater treatment plants are not specifically designed to remove them, fungi and their enzymes are among the most promising solutions to the problem. The current state of research is described in the chapter, highlighting the major achievements obtained so far by researchers for the conversion of emerging micropollutants such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), personal care products (PCPs), biological active compounds, etc. Advantages and disadvantages in the use of fungal whole-cell systems or their enzymes (as crude extracts or purified form) have been taken into consideration. Some operative (e.g., addition of nutrient, pH control) and technological solutions (e.g., mediator addition, immobilization of the biocatalysts) that are able to enhance the effectiveness and the stability of biological treatments are also presented. Since the removal of pollutants and the abatement of the toxicity are the two main goals of any treatment, water quality assessment requires targeted analysis to investigate the biological effect of the samples on aquatic organisms and human health which can be monitored via the ecotoxicity and the estrogenic activity. Even though bioassays are not a routine practice, they have often been used to assess the efficacy of fungal and enzymatic processes.


Emerging micropollutants EDCs White-rot fungi Laccases Estrogenic activity Ecotoxicity 



Environmental protection agency


European Commission


Endocrine disrupting chemicals


Bisphenol A


Personal care products


Wastewater treatment plant


17β-estradiol equivalent concentration










Polyethylene glycol


Yeast estrogen screen assay

E-screen test

Human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7 BUS) proliferation test

MELN assay

Luciferase-transfected human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7 BUS) gene reporter assay


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life Sciences and Systems BiologyMycotheca Universitatis Taurinensis (MUT), University of TurinTurinItaly

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