It is essential to understand the way in which different fungi colonize and function in different niches. The initial phase of substrate colonization has little to do with ligninases (Evans and Hedger 2001). Lignin has such a low calorific value that it cannot act as a sole carbon source, therefore white rot fungi only degrade lignin when they cannot utilize cellulose. For example T. versicolour enters wood through cuts in vessels or tracheids and it colonizes rapidly through these structures, utilizing soluble materials whilst sequestering and retaining substrate. Only after colonization and substrate possession is complete does cellulose availability become limited, and as nitrogen levels reduce to below 200:1 C:N lignin degradation begins. Other members of the Aphyllophorales, including Ganoderma sp., Fomes sp., and lnonotus sp., are slow to colonize and the onset of lignin degradation is even slower, but very recalcitrant molecules can be degraded (Evans and
Hedger 2001). Species from the Sphaerales are slow lignin degraders with great tolerance to water stress. It is essential to understand such ecological effects and to match these biodegradative abilities with the desired end result before selecting a species of fungus to use in bioremediation of a particular substrate.
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