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Impeding Effect of Polystyrene Microplastic Pollutants on Hg2+ Uptake Potential of Aspergillus flavus

Impeding Effect of Polystyrene Microplastic Pollutants on Hg2+ Uptake Potential of Aspergillus flavus

Imania Ghaffar1, Ali Hussain2*, Arshad Javid1 and Shahid Mehmood1

1Department of Wildlife and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Outfall Road, Lahore, Pakistan
2Institute of Zoology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-i-Azam Campus, Lahore, Pakistan
3Department of Poultry Production, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Outfall Road, Lahore, Pakistan
 
*      Corresponding author: ali.zool@pu.edu.pk
0030-9923/2024/0004-1725 $ 9.00/0

ABSTRACT

Microplastic pollution has aroused up to intimidating level around the globe and has become a focal point for researchers. However, data regarding the effects of microplastics on structure and function of filamentous fungal species is very scarce. Fungi have made a prominent mark in the area of heavy metals’ bioremediation. This study attempts to check the influence of microplastic pollutants on Hg2+ uptake potential of metal-resistant Aspergillus flavus at laboratory scale under pre-optimized conditions. A. flavus showed a remarkable potential of remediating simulated wastewater, i.e., 100% Hg2+ reduction was achieved at 25 mg/L of the added metal in 15 days of incubation. On higher concentrations like 75 and 100 mg/L, A. flavus showed almost negligible reduction of Hg2+ but this strain was able to tolerate Hg2+ up to 200 mg/L. Polystyrene microbeads at a concentration of 100 mg/L reduced the metal uptake potential of A. flavus up to 21%. Polystyrene microparticles might have formed aggregates on fungal mycelia blocking the attachment sites for heavy metals. Our findings will be helpful in designing an efficient bioremedial system mediated by the pollution-resistant microflora. More research is required to check the possible effects of microplastic pollutants on the fungal mycelia to exploit their maximum potential.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

August

Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 4, pp. 1501-2000

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