Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Process Engineering, Biotechnology, Nutrition Technology
Summary The ability of several filamentous, polymorphic and unicellular fungi to reduce selenite to elemental selenium on solid medium was examined.Fusarium sp. andTrichoderma reeii were the only filamentous fungi, of those tested, which reduced selenite to elemental selenium on Czapek-Dox agar resulting in a red colouration of colonies. Other organisms (Aspergillus niger, Coriolus versicolor, Mucor SK, andRhizopus arrhizus) were able to reduce selenite only on malt extract agar. Several fungi were able to grow in the presence of sodium selenite but were apparently unable to reduce selenite to elemental selenium, indicating that other mechanisms of selenite tolerance were employed, such as reduced uptake and/or biomethylation to less toxic, volatile derivatives. Sodium selenate was more toxic toFusarium sp. than selenite, and the toxicity of both oxyanions was increased in sulphur-free medium, with this effect being more marked for selenate. Scanning electron microscopy ofAspergillus funiculosus andFusarium sp. incubated with sodium selenite showed the presence of needle-like crystals of elemental selenium on the surfaces of hyphae and conidia, while transmission electron microscopy ofA. funiculosus revealed the deposition of electron-dense granules in vacuoles of selenite-treated fungi. Several yeasts were able to grow on MYGP agar containing sodium selenate or sodium selenite at millimolar concentrations. Sone, notablyRhodotorula rubra andCandida lipolytica, and the polymorphic fungusAureobasidium pullulans were also effective at reducing selenite to elemental selenium, resulting in red-coloured colonies.Schizosaccharomyces pombe was able to grow at selenite concentrations up to 5 mmol L−1 without any evidence of reduction, again indicating the operation of other tolerance mechanisms.
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