Degradation or humification: rethinking strategies to attenuate organic pollutants, study published on the Trends in biotechnology, makes an interesting retrospective on the subject. The researchers explain: "The fate of organic pollutants in environmental matrices can be determined by degradation and humification.
The humification process represents a promising strategy to remove organic pollutants, particularly those resistant to degradation. In contrast to the well-studied degradation process, the contribution and application prospects of the humification process for organic pollutant removal has been underestimated.The recent progress in synthesizing artificial humic substances (HS) has made directed humification of recalcitrant organic pollutants possible.
This review focuses on degradation and humification of organic matter, especially recalcitrant organic pollutants. Challenges in understanding the contribution, underlying mechanisms, and artificial synthesis of HS for removing organic pollutants are also critically discussed.
We advocate further investigating the humification of organic pollutants in future studies." Persistent organic pollutants are chemicals that are very resistant to decomposition and possess some toxic properties. Due to their characteristics of persistence and toxicity they are particularly harmful to human health, some of which are configured as poisons, others as carcinogens, and for the environment, even lethal for fauna.
Due to their high lipoaffinity, they have been found to accumulate in organisms and residues have been detected in fish, wildlife, human tissue, milk and blood, as well as food samples. They are present in the atmosphere, air and water and their propagation is also due to migratory species.
The danger lies in the growing concentration in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Aldrin, for example, is an organochlorine insecticide that was widely used in the 1970s and whose use is now prohibited in many countries, in the United States since 1974.
Aldrin is one of the persistent organic pollutants. Aldrin is oxidized to dieldrin by insect metabolism, the latter compound being toxic to insects. Aldrin is produced from hexachlorocyclopentadiene and norbornadiene by the Diels-Alder reaction.