Degradation and emission of carbonyl sulfide, an atmospheric trace gas, by fungi isolated from forest soil

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Soil is thought to be important both as a source and a sink of carbonyl sulfide (COS) in the troposphere, but the mechanism affecting COS uptake, especially for fungi, remains uncertain. Fungal isolates that were collected randomly from forest soil showed COS-degrading ability at high frequencies: 38 out of 43 isolates grown on potato dextrose agar showed degradation of 30 ppmv COS within 24 h. Of these isolates, eight degraded 30 ppmv of COS to below the detection limit within 2 h. These isolates also showed an ability to degrade COS included in ambient air (around 500 pptv) and highly concentrated (12 500 ppmv) level, even though the latter is higher than the lethal level for mammals. COS-degrading activity was estimated by using ergosterol as a biomass index for fungi. Trichoderma sp. THIF08 had the highest COS-degrading activity of all the isolates. Interestingly, Umbelopsis/Mortierella spp. THIF09 and THIF13 were unable to degrade 30 ppmv COS within 24 h, and actually emitted COS during the cultivation in ambient air. These results indicate a fungal contribution to the flux of COS between the terrestrial and atmospheric environments.

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