Biological treatment of the effluent from a bleached kraft pulp mill using basidiomycete and zygomycete fungi

A. C. Freitas*, F. Ferreira, A. M. Costa, R. Pereira, S. C. Antunes, F. Gonçalves, T. A.P. Rocha-Santos, M. S. Diniz, L. Castro, I. Peres, A. C. Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Three white-rot fungi (Pleurotus sajor caju, Trametes versicolor and Phanerochaete chrysosporium) and one soft-rot fungi (Rhizopus oryzae) species confirmed their potential for future applications in the biological treatment of effluents derived from the secondary treatment of a bleached kraft pulp mill processing Eucalyptus globulus. Among the four species P. sajor caju and R. oryzae were the most effective in the biodegradation of organic compounds present in the effluent, being responsible for the reduction of relative absorbance (25-46% at 250 nm and 72-74% at 465 nm) and of chemical oxygen demand levels (74 to 81%) after 10 days of incubation. Laccase (Lac), lignin (Lip) and manganese peroxidases (MnP) expression varied among fungal species, where Lac and LiP activities were correlated with the degradation of organic compounds in the effluent treated with P. sajor caju. The first two axes of a principal component analysis explained 88.9% of the total variation among sub-samples treated with the four fungus species, after different incubation periods. All the variables measured contributed positively to the first component except for the MnP enzyme activity which was the only variable contributing negatively to the first component. Absorbances at 465 nm, LiP and Lac enzyme activities were the variables with more weight on the second component. P. sajor caju revealed to be the only species able to perform the biological treatment without promoting an increment in the toxicity of the effluent to the Vibrio fischeri, as it was assessed by the Microtox® assay. The opposite was recorded for the treatments with the other three species of fungus. EC50-5 min values ranging between 28 and 57% (effluent concentrations) were recorded even after 10 to 13 days of treatment with P. chrysosporium, R. oryzae or with T. versicolor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3282-3289
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological treatment
  • Fungi
  • Kraft effluent


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