Mechanisms of detoxification by humic substances

N. S. Kudryasheva, A. S. Tarasova, E. S. Fedorova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter classifies detoxifying effects of humic substances (HS) in solutions of toxic compounds. A series of organic redox compounds (quinones and phenols) and metal salts were used as model toxic compounds. Marine luminous bacteria Photobacterium phosphoreum and bioluminescent system of coupled enzymatic reactions were applied as bioassays to monitor toxicity of solutions. Ability of HS to decrease or increase toxicity of the solutions was demonstrated. Detoxification coefficients were calculated, and HS detoxifying concentrations were determined. The detoxifying effects were explained by (1) decrease of free toxic compound content in water solutions under binding and redox neutralization by HS, (2) increase of biochemical reaction rates in a bioassay system in the presence of HS, and (3) enhancement of mucous layers on cell surface as a response to unfavorable impact of toxicants. Detoxifying mechanisms (2) and (3) reveal the active role of bioassay systems in detoxification processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFunctions of Natural Organic Matter in Changing Environment
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9789400756342
ISBN (Print)940075633X, 9789400756335
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioassays
  • Humic substances
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)

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