Increased environmental pollution has necessitated the need for eco-friendly clean-up strategies. Filamentous fungal species from gold and gemstone mine site soils were isolated, identified and assessed for their tolerance to varied heavy metal concentrations of cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), arsenic (As) and iron (Fe). The identities of the fungal strains were determined based on the internal transcribed spacer 1 and 2 (ITS 1 and ITS 2) regions. Mycelia growth of the fungal strains were subjected to a range of (0-100 Cd), (0-1000 Cu), (0-400 Pb), (0-500 As) and (0-800 Fe) concentrations (mgkg-1) incorporated into malt extract agar (MEA) in triplicates. Fungal radial growths were recorded every three days over a 13-days’ incubation period. Fungal strains were identified as Fomitopsis meliae, Trichoderma ghanense and Rhizopus microsporus. All test fungal exhibited tolerance to Cu, Pb, and Fe at all test concentrations (400-1000mgkg-1), not differing significantly (p>0.05) from the controls and with tolerance index >1. T. ghanense and R. microsporus demonstrated exceptional capacity for Cd and As concentrations, while showing no significant (p>0.05) difference compared to the controls and with a tolerance index >1 at 25mgkg-1 Cd and 125mgkg-1 As. Remarkably, these fungal strains showed tolerance to metal concentrations exceeding globally permissible limits for contaminated soils. It is envisaged that this metal tolerance trait exhibited by these fungal strains may indicate their potentials as effective agents for bioremediative clean-up of heavy metal polluted environments.
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