Effect of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici on the degradation of humic acid associated with Cu, Pb, and Ni: An in vitro study

Kazimierz Wrobel, Alma Rosa Corrales Escobosa, Julio Alberto Landero Figueroa, J. Félix Gutiérrez Corona, Katarzyna Wrobel

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The intent of this work was to gain further insight on the fungus-assisted degradation/solubilization of humic acid and the related changes in metal-binding profiles. In the experimental design, Aldrich reagent humic acid (HA) or HA enriched with Cu, Pb, and Ni (HA(Me)) was added to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici cultures in vitro. The cultures were supplied by different carbon- and nitrogen-containing nutrients (glucose, Glc, or glutamate, Glu and ammonium, NH 4 + , or nitrate, NO 3 - , ions, respectively) in order to examine their possible effect on HA and HA(Me) decomposition. During the first 48 h of fungus growth, gradual acidification to pH 2 was observed in medium containing Glc + NH 4 + , while for other cultures, alkalinization to pH 9 occurred and then, the above conditions were stable up to at least 200 h. Size exclusion chromatography (SEC) with UV/Vis detection showed progressive degradation and solubilization of both HA and HA(Me) with the increasing time of fungus growth. However, the molecular mass distributions of HA-related soluble species were different in the presence of metals (HA(Me)) as referred to HA and were also influenced by the composition of growth medium. The solubilization of Pb, Cu, and Ni and their association with HA molecular mass fractions were studied using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) detection. Under acidic conditions, relatively high concentrations of low-molecular-mass metallic species were found in culture supernatants, while in alkaline media, metal solubilization was generally poorer. In contrast to low pH culture, SEC-ICP-MS results obtained in alkaline supernatants indicated metal binding to degradation products of humic substances of MM > 5 kDa. In summary, the results of this study suggest that fungus-assisted degradation of HA and HA(Me) might be controlled using appropriate N- and C- sources required for fungus growth, which in turn would affect molecular mass distribution of soluble metallic species thus potentially influencing their actual bioaccessibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2267-2276
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Fusarium oxysporum
  • Humic acid
  • ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry)
  • Metals
  • SEC (size exclusion chromatography)


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