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Anthropogenic contamination of water, soil, and air has been increasingly documented over the past few decades. One chemical of particular concern is Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), which is found in fluoropolymers present in non-stick pan coatings and stain resistant fabrics in clothing and rugs. It can also be generated from the degradation of larger perfluorinated compounds, such as Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). It is pervasive in the environment, and resists degradation which has led to its presence in low levels within human blood worldwide. Numerous human health risks have been noted from PFOA contamination and exposure, including hypertension, thyroid disorders, cancers, and more. Prior research has determined chemical means to break the larger PFAS precursor down to PFOA. However, to date no research has identified biological means for removal or degradation of PFOA from the environment. Fungi are well known for their capacity to intercept or even degrade toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, textile dyes, heavy metals, and crude oil. Given these qualities, we tested the ability of three species of fungi (Stropharia rugosoannulata, Pleurotus ostreatus, and Agaricus campestris) to intercept environmentally relevant concentrations of PFOA from contaminated solution over 24 hours. We found both S. rugosoannulata and P. ostreatus removed significantly higher amounts of PFOA (1ppm) from contaminated solution relative to controls over 24 hours. This research suggests a future possibility of utilizing fungi as a low-impact and cost-effective capturing system to mitigate widespread PFOA contamination.



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Cleaning Chemicals from the Environment Utilizing Mycoremediation: The Capacity of Three Fungi Species to Intercept Perfluorooctanoic Acid