Sci Total Environ. 2022 Feb 3:153631. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153631. Online ahead of print.
Paraquat has been intensively used worldwide for several decades for the purpose of weed control in profit crop plantation. This leads to the accumulation of the herbicide and its metabolites in the environment. One promising method to reduce and/or eliminate the paraquat-contaminants is via microbial bioremediation. Filamentous fungi, Aspergillus tamarii PRPY-2, isolated from rubber tree plantation in the northern part of Thailand exhibited the ability to degrade paraquat in liquid media at laboratory scale. Thus, utilization of this species in paraquat-contaminated sites is potentially feasible. However, metabolites generated during biodegradation processes are possibly more toxic than the parent compound. Hence, before introducing this microbe into the environment, it is necessary to ensure that metabolites have no adverse effects on the ecosystem. The present work focuses on the study of the toxic effects of paraquat metabolites on the eukaryote model organism using Saccharomyces cerevisiae of wild type and five mutant strains. The relation between paraquat degradation and growth of fungi was firstly performed. Ecotoxicity testing was done via chemo-genetic screening method. Oxidative stress-related enzyme, superoxide dismutase of S. cerevisiae was also verified. The results illustrated that fungi could degrade 100% of paraquat in Czapeck Dox liquid medium within 21 days. Ecotoxicity data indicated that all yeast strains grew better in a medium containing paraquat metabolites than the one containing parent compound. Among them, mutant lacking superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene was the most affected strain. Moreover, enzyme activity of yeast cells exposed to paraquat metabolites was found to be lower than that exposed to parent compound. In summary, metabolites degraded by A. tamarii are less toxic to model organism than paraquat. Therefore, the utilization of this species for remediation purpose was found to be safe for the environment.