John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Development of a groundwater fungal strain as a tool for toxicity assessment

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Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Despite the significant ecological role in groundwater the value of fungi as indicators of groundwater pollution is not known, as fungi are notoriously challenging to assess for toxicity because of their varied morphological components, in particular their filamentous structures. Hence they remain rarely used in environmental risk assessments and monitoring programs for aquatic systems. We developed a rapid, low cost, one‐step static toxicity test targeting the hyphal components of fungi and subsequently demonstrated the sensitivity of a ubiquitous and dominant groundwater fungal strain to metal contaminants. The strain demonstrates sensitivity to chromium>copper>zinc and relative resistance to arsenic. The introduction of a novel group of groundwater microorganisms — the fungi, for toxicity evaluation will strengthen current risk assessment programs for these ecosystems. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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