Recalcitrance as a catalyst for new developments

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9 Scopus citations


Humic substances are very recalcitrant in anaerobic environments as substrates, mostly due to their non-hydrolyzable high molecular weight structure, which is incompatible for cell uptake. The recalcitrant nature can be applied towards immobilizing pollutants into non-toxic humic substances. Certain anaerobic bioconversions such as demethylation of lignin and reduction of nitro- or azo groups can active pollutants for humification processes upon subsequent exposure to air. Although humic substances provide no carbon or engery for microorganisms, the evidence presented here indicates that they are very active as terminal electron acceptors and redox mediators promoting the anaerobic degradation and biotransformation of priority pollutants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001


  • Anaerobic biodegradation
  • Electron acceptor
  • Quinone
  • Redox mediator humus
  • Xenobiotic pollutants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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