Dr. Lidia NicolaPost-doc Researcher
Mycology, University of Pavia, Italy
Speech Title: Evaluation of the potential of Trichoderma strains in the bioremediation of hydrocarbon complex mixtures
Abstract: Trichoderma is a fungal genus, belonging to Ascomycetes and it is of great biotechnological interest in many fields (agriculture, industrial production, etc). It can also biodegrade recalcitrant substrates thanks to the production of nonspecific extracellular enzymes, generally involved in the degradation of lignin, therefore it could have a potential as agent of hydrocarbons bioremediation. The aim of this work was to evaluate the ability of four strains belonging to Trichoderma asperellum and Trichoderma harzianum to exploit used engine oil as its sole carbon source. After testing their tolerance to hydrocarbon complex mixtures, the fungi were inoculated in liquid mineral cultures in direct contact with used engine oil (1% v/v). The samples were analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) after 45 days of incubation. The results showed that three strains out of four (Trichoderma harzianum F12, Trichoderma harzianum F26 and Trichoderma harzianum F58) significantly changed the oil composition, decreasing the aromatic fraction in favor of the aliphatic one. T. harzianum F26, especially, showed a significant reduction of the BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and the three xylene isomers) and alkylbenzenes fraction and an increase in short-chain aliphatics C1–C20. Enzymatic tests for laccase and peroxidase were also carried out, demonstrating that every strain seems to express a different mode of action.
Biography: Dr. Lidia Nicola is a post-doc researcher and a lecturer on contract at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Pavia (Italy). She attained her PhD in Biology at Innsbruck University (Austria) in collaboration with the Edmund Mach Agronomical Research Center, with a project on discovering the hidden soil microbial diversity under the long-standing problem of Apple Replant Disease, in order to find eco-friendly solutions for the growers. Her PhD thesis won the Caretta Prize for Environmental and Applied Mycology. Currently, her research is focused on Mycology, with two different research lines, the first about the fungal biodiversity in agricultural soils, the second about the potential of fungi as agents of bioremediation against hydrocarbons and plastics. She contributed to several international conferences around the world.