Interactions between Hg and soil microbes: microbial diversity and mechanisms, with an emphasis on fungal processes
Journal: 2020/October - Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Mercury (Hg) is a highly toxic metal with no known biological function, and it can be highly bioavailable in terrestrial ecosystems. Although fungi are important contributors to a number of soil processes including plant nutrient uptake and decomposition, little is known about the effect of Hg on fungi. Fungi accumulate the largest amount of Hg and are the organisms capable of the highest bioaccumulation of Hg. While referring to detailed mechanisms in bacteria, this mini-review emphasizes the progress made recently on this topic and represents the first step towards a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying Hg tolerance and accumulation in fungal species and hence on the role of fungi within the Hg cycle at Hg-contaminated sites. KEY POINTS: • The fungal communities are more resilient than bacterial communities to Hg exposure. • The exposure to Hg is a threat to microbial soil functions involved in both C and nutrient cycles. • Fungal (hyper)accumulation of Hg may be important for the Hg cycle in terrestrial environments. • Understanding Hg tolerance and accumulation by fungi may lead to new remediation biotechnologies.
Keywords: Chronic/acute exposure; Communities; Environment; Fungi; Mercury (Hg); Soil.
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