Biodegradation of fluorene by the newly isolated marine-derived fungus, Mucor irregularis strain bpo1 using response surface methodology

Paul Olusegun Bankole, Kirk Taylor Semple, Byong Hun Jeon, Sanjay Prabhu Govindwar

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Fluorene, a low molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), is of immense environmental interest because of its carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, mutagenicity, toxicity and persistence to microbial degradation. Existentially, there is paucity of information on PAH degradation by fungi isolated from marine environment. Therefore, this study investigated fluorene degradation efficiency of marine derived filamentous fungus, Mucor irregularis strain bpo1 (GenBank Accession Number: MK373020). Response Surface Methodology (RSM) using Box–Behnken Design (BBD) was successfully deployed in the optimization of process parameters (pH-7, temperature-32.5 °C, substrate concentration-100 mg L−1 and dry weight-2 g) resulting in 81.50% fluorene degradation on 5th day. The design and regression model were found to be statistically significant, adequate and appropriate with p < 0.0001, F value = 202.39, and predicted coefficient of determination (R2 = 0.9991). Optimization of the vital constituents of the mineral salt medium (MSM) used for the study using RSM-Central Composite Design (CCD) resulted in 79.80% fluorene degradation rate. Enhanced fluorene degradation efficiency (82.50%) was recorded when the optimized process variables were subjected to growth-linked validation experiments. The enzyme activities revealed 87%, 59% and 31% induction of laccase, manganese peroxidase and lignin peroxidase respectively. Four metabolites; 9H-fluoren-9-one, benzene-1,2-dicarboxylic acid, 2-hydroxybenzoic acid and phenol obtained after the experiment were characterized and confirmed with GC-MS analysis. The findings revealed the promising potentials of M. irregularis in PAH degradation and by extension green remediation technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111619
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - 2021 Jan 15


  • Biodegradation
  • Fluorene
  • Mucor irregularis
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


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