Interactions between humic substances and microorganisms and their implications for nature-like bioremediation technologies

Kulikova N.A., Perminova I.V.

Molecules, 2021, 29, 6, 1-36, doi: 10.3390/molecules26092706


The state of the art of the reported data on interactions between microorganisms and HSs is presented herein. The properties of HSs are discussed in terms of microbial utilization, degradation, and transformation. The data on biologically active individual compounds found in HSs are summarized. Bacteria of the phylum Proteobacteria and fungi of the phyla Basidiomycota and Ascomycota were found to be the main HS degraders, while Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes were found to be the predominant phyla in humic-reducing microorganisms (HRMs). Some promising aspects of interactions between microorganisms and HSs are discussed as a feasible basis for nature-like biotechnologies, including the production of enzymes capable of catalyzing the oxidative binding of organic pollutants to HSs, while electron shuttling through the utilization of HSs by HRMs as electron shuttles may be used for the enhancement of organic pollutant biodegradation or lowering bioavailability of some metals. Utilization of HSs by HRMs as terminal electron acceptors may suppress electron transfer to CO2, reducing the formation of CH4 in temporarily anoxic systems. The data reported so far are mostly related to the use of HSs as redoxcompounds. HSs are capable of altering the composition of the microbial community, and there are environmental conditions that determine the efficiency of HSs. To facilitate the development of HS-based technologies, complex studies addressing these factors are in demand.