Date: 18 May 2001

Biodegradation of Xenobiotics in Environment and Technosphere

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Microorganisms play an important role in the removal of synthetic organic compounds from the environment. This chapter gives an overview of the evolution of biodegradation pathways and describes the strategies that microorganisms have evolved to transform important molecular structures. The actual effectiveness of biodegradation in the environment is determined by the bioavailability of the compounds. As a general rule, one could state that the release rates of synthetic compounds should not exceed the environment’s ability to degrade them.