Changes to water repellence of soil caused by the growth of white-rot fungi: studies using a novel microcosm system.

White NA, Hallett PD, Feeney D, Palfreyman JW, Ritz K.

SIMBIOS, School of Science and Engineering, University of Abertay Dundee, Bell Street, Dundee, UK.


A microcosm system is described which permits assessment of the progressive growth of filamentous fungi through soil. We report on its application to measure the effects of Coriolus versicolor and Phanerochaete chrysosporium upon the sorptivity and water repellence of a mineral soil, measured using a miniature infiltration device. Both fungal species caused moderate sub-critical repellence. Since the pore structure was unaffected, the repellence was probably due to hydrophobic substances of fungal origin. This is the first report of changes in soil repellence caused by the growth of potential xenobiotic bioremediating fungi. The potential consequences are discussed.

PMID: 10689169 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]