Biodegradation of endocrine-disrupting compounds by ligninolytic fungi: mechanisms involved in the degradation

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Without any doubt, endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) represent an environmental risk for wildlife and human beings. Endocrine-disrupting effects were found for many chemicals in products for personal use, industrial compounds and even in classical persistent organic pollutants (POPs). In order to understand the fate of EDCs in the environment, it is highly important to identify and to clarify the biodegradation mechanisms that can lead to their decomposition. Ligninolytic fungi (LF) are interesting microorganisms that are capable of participating in a variety of versatile decomposition mechanisms. The microorganisms represent a useful model group and, moreover, LF or their enzymes can be actively used for decontamination. Potential optimization of the decontamination process provides another important reason why it is necessary for understanding the mechanisms of EDC transformation. This minireview summarizes current knowledge about the LF biodegradation mechanisms of the most important micropollutants (xenoestrogens), including nonylphenols, bisphenol A and 17α-ethinylestradiol and polychlorinated biphenyls as POPs with endocrine-disrupting potency. Generally, LF exhibit the ability to either polymerize the target pollutants or to substantially decompose the original structure using ligninolytic enzymes and cytochrome P-450. Moreover, most of the transformation processes are accompanied by reduction of the endocrine-disrupting activity or ecotoxicity.

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