In view of the numerous reports of involvement in dye decolorization and lignin degradation (Sections 2 and 3) the white-rot fungi were considered the organisms of choice for this work. It was essential that the organism could either grow on or metabolize the effluent. Plates of malt extract agar (MEA) were prepared in the effluent diluted to contain 695, 1389, 2083, and 2770 mg/l TOC, respectively. They were adjusted to pH 4.5 to aid fungal growth. Plates were centrally inoculated with several white-rot fungi that had been collected in Victoria, Australia, and some standard strains. The plates were grown under high humidity and examined daily.
The most appropriate organism was judged to be a strain of a Victoria isolate of P. cinnabarinus, identified according to Fuhrer (1985) and Macdonald and Westerman (1979). In the presence of a primary carbon source (and a TOC of the effluent of 1385 mg/l) this fungus covered the entire plate in 96 h. This TOC concentration was also used in bioreactor experiments.
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