Interactions of fungi with toxic metals


New Phytol. (1993), 124, 25-60


This review details the major interactions of fungi with toxic metal species. Physico-chemical and biological aspects are discussed including definitions and classification of metals in biological contexts, mechanisms of metal fungitoxicity, resistance and tolerance, environmental influences and the occurrence of fungi in metal-polluted habitats. Cellular interactions include extracellular precipitation and complexation, binding to cell walls, transport of monovalent and divalent metal cations, intracellular fates of toxic metal species (including metal-binding proteins and peptides, and vacuolar compartmentation), and metal transformations including organometal(loid) synthesis. Significant interactions between metals and mycorrhizal fungi and macrofungi are summarized with reference to the amelioration of plant phytotoxicity and metal accumulation respectively. Biotechnological aspects of metal-fungal interactions relate to the biological treatment of metal-contaminated effluents and waste streams for metal removal/recovery and environmental protection.