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Journal of Environmental Sciences
Volume 120, 2022, Pages 9-17

Non-targeted metabolomics reveals the stress response of a cellulase-containing penicillium to uranium

Li Zhang1, Jie Li1*, Jin-long Lai2

School of Life Science and Engineering, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang 621010, China.


Human industrial activities have caused environmental uranium (U) pollution, resulting in uranium(VI) had radiotoxicity and chemical toxicity. Here, a cellulase-producing Penicillium fungus was screened and characterized by X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and Fourier transform infrared reflection (FT-IR), as well as by GC/MS metabolomics analysis, to study the response to uranium(VI) stress. The biomass of Penicillium decreased after exposure to 100 mg/L U. Uranium combined with carboxyl groups, amino groups, and phosphate groups to form uranium mineralized deposits on the surface of this fungal strain. The α-activity concentration of uranium in the strain was 2.57×106 Bq/kg, and the β-activity concentration was 2.27×105 Bq/kg. Metabolomics analysis identified 118 different metabolites, as well as metabolic disruption of organic acids and derivatives. Further analysis showed that uranium significantly affected the metabolism of 9 amino acids in Penicillium. These amino acids were related to the TCA cycle and ABC transporter. At the same time, uranium exhibited nucleotide metabolism toxicity to Penicillium. This study provides an in-depth understanding of the uranium tolerance mechanism of Penicillium and provides a theoretical basis for Penicillium to degrade hyper-enriched plants.

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