The degradation of resistant organic substances in aquatic ecosystems as affected by microorganisms

Tyumen State University Herald. Natural Resource Use and Ecology


2015, Vol. 1. №2(2)

The degradation of resistant organic substances in aquatic ecosystems as affected by microorganisms

About the authors:

Tatyana N. Gubernatorova, Cand. Techn. Sci., Senior Researcher, Water Problems Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
Marina I. Dinu, Cand. Chem. Sci, research assistant, Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, named after V.I. Vernadskiy, Russian Academy of Sciences Vitaliy Y. Khoroshavin, Cand. Geog. Sci., Head of Department of Physical Geography and Ecology, Institute of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies, Tyumen State University


One of the important components of the self-purification of aquatic ecosystems is the degradation of organic matter in the aquatic environment. The resistant fraction (water and soil humus, organic matter of waste waters, and plant residues) plays a particularly significant role in the processes of biodegradation. However, the oxidation rate of such compounds and the mechanisms of their degradation have been poorly investigated so far. The research of the biodegradation of humic substances as affected by microorganisms in the aquatic environment seems to be of particular interest in the present-day world. Studies of that kind are conducted in order to identify the relevant kinetic laws and biochemical mechanisms of the decay of resistant natural biopolymers. The latter determine the rate of the self-purification capacity of natural water bodies as well as the human-induced pressure on water bodies for organic matter and the global carbon cycle. Despite the intensive research in this area, these issues are still unresolved and open for further research due to the fact that natural humic substances are the polymorph inhomogeneous mixture of organic compounds of a complex composition and structure, which entails a number of difficulties in the pilot study of their biodegradability. Moreover, the current simplified methods implying the use of labeled synthetic “analogs” have some significant drawbacks and are limited in application.


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