In this Chapter, the primary focus was to provide a holistic overview of three specific thematic areas, which equally form the primary objectives towards understanding the ecotoxicological impact of the tanning industry. These are namely; characterisation of tannery dust, effluents, sediments and riverine samples, assessment of ecotoxicity and bioremediation potential of primary contaminants, and environmental risk assessment through development of a quantitative and qualitative risk assessment model. The chapter pursues progressively pivotal issues associated with waste management. The attempt is successfully done by critically previewing the tanning industry and focusing on the main contaminants and pollutants related to the sector using novel techniques discussed in subsequent chapters of the book.


Leather Processing Fluorescent Whitening Agent Phenyl Tetrazolium Chloride Tanning Industry Vegetable Tannin 


  1. Alberts B, Bray D, Lewis J, Raff M, Robert K, Watson JD (1991) Molecular Biology of the Cell 3rd Ed. Garland Publishing, Inc. London.Google Scholar
  2. Anonymous (2002) Chrome tan powder (CAS No 12336-95-7, EC No 235-595-8, Document No SDS-21 Issue 005 (30/06/2002) Accessed 23rd December 2008
  3. Anonymous (1996). Komma consultants. Eco-trade manual. Environmental challenges for exporters to the European Union. February 1996, pp. 115.Google Scholar
  4. Benefield CB, Haward PJA, and Howard DM (1977) The estimation of dehydrogenase activity in soil. Soil Biol Biochem 9: 67–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brookes PC, Mcgrath SP, Klein DA, Elliot ET (1984) Effects of heavy metals on microbial activity and biomass in field soils treated with sewage sludge. In: Environmental Contamination (International Conference, London, July (1984), pp. 574–583, CEP, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  6. Beck TH (1984) Mikrobiologische und biochemische charakterisierung lanwirtschaftich genutzer Boden I. Mittelung: Die Ermittlung einer Boden Mikrobiologischen kennzahl. Z Pflanzenernahr Bodenkd 147: 456–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burns RG (1978) Soil enzymes. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Cassano A, Molinari A, Romano M, Drioli E (2001) Treatment of aqueous effluents of the leather industry by membrane processes, A review. J Membr Sci 181: 111–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Connell LB, Welling KA, Cattolico RA (1997) Algal organic metabolites affect pacific oysters, Crossostrea gigas, larval survival. J Shellfish Res 16: 493–501.Google Scholar
  10. Cox GW (1997) Conservation biology: In concepts and applications, 2nd Edn. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Chicago, Illinois.Google Scholar
  11. Campbell AK (1989) Living light: biochemistry, function and biomedical applications. Essays in Biochem 24: 41–48.Google Scholar
  12. Cenci H, Morozzi G (1979) The validity of the TTC-test for dehydrogenase activity of activated sludge in the presence of chemical inhibitors. Zentralblatt fur Bacteriologie and Hygiene Abstract B 169: 320–330.Google Scholar
  13. Chander K, Brookes PC (1991) Is the dehydrogenase assay invalid as a method to estimate microbial activity in copper contaminated soils? Soil Biol Biochem 23(10): 909–915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dadaglio G (2003) Africa positions itself for the global leather market. International trade forum – issue 2/2003, pp. 22.Google Scholar
  15. Doleman P, Haanstra L (1979) Effect of lead on soil respiration and dehydrogenase activity. Soil Biol Biochem 11: 475–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ebregt A, Boldewijn JMAM (1977) Influence of heavy metals in spruce forest on amylase activity, CO2 evolution from starch and soil respiration. Plant Soil 47: 137–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Frankenberger WT Jr, Dick WA (1983) Relationship between enzyme activities and microbial growth and activities indices in soil. Soil Sci Soci of Am J 47: 945–951.Google Scholar
  18. Goel R, Minto T, Satoh H, Matsuo T (1998) Enzyme activity under anaerobic and aerobic conditions under activated sludge sequencing batch reactor. Water Res 32 (7): 2081–2088.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hastings JW, Nealson KH (1977) Bacterial bioluminescence. Annu Rev Microbiol 31: 549–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hongwei Y, Zhanpeng J, Shaoqi S, Tang WZ (2002) INT-dehydrogenase activity test for assessing anaerobic biodegradability of organic compounds. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 53: 416–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. International Council of Tanners (ICT) (2003); Leather statistics and sources of Information, Accessed 12th August 2008
  22. Khwaja AR (1998) Studies on pollution abatement of wastes from leather Industries, PhD thesis, University of Roorkee, India.Google Scholar
  23. Killham K, Boyd EM, Wright J, Rumford S, Hetherridge M, Cumming R, Meharg AA (1997) Assessment of toxicity of xenobiotic contaminated groundwater samples using lux-modified Pseudomonas fluorescens. Chemosphere 35: 1967–1985.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Killham K, Rattray EAS, Paton GI, Caffoor I, Brown JS (1996) Comparative assessment of toxicity of the paper mill effluent by respiratory and a luminescent based bacteria assay. Chemosphere 32: 1553–1561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Killham K, Staddon WJ (2002) Bioindicators and sensors of soil health and the application of geostatistics. pp. 397–406. In: GR, Dick RP (eds.) Enzymes in the environments; activity, ecology and applications burns. Marcel Dekker, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Lyytikäinen M (2004) Transport, bioavailability and effects of Ky-5 and CCA wood preservative components in aquatic environment. University of Joensuu, Ph.D. Dissertations in Biology, No 26. ISSN 1457-2486, ISBN 952-458-524-3, pp. 53.Google Scholar
  27. Le Bihan Y, Lessard P (1998) Influence of operational variables on enzymatic tests applied to monitor the microbial biomass activity of a biofilter. Water Sci Tech 37 (4/5): 199–202.Google Scholar
  28. Mader S (1998). Biology, 6th Edn. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston.Google Scholar
  29. Malkommes HP (1988) Einfluss einmaliger und wiederholter Herbizia-Gaben auf Mikrobielle Pozesse in Bodenproben unter laborbedingungen. Pedobiologia 31: 323–338.Google Scholar
  30. Meikle A, Killham K, Prosser JI, Glover LA (1992) Luminometric measurement of population activity of genetically modified Pseudomonas fluorescens in soil. FEMS Microbiol Lett 99: 217–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Meighen EA (1992) Bioluminescence bacteria. pp. 309–319. In: Lederberg, J (ed.) Encyclopaedia of microbiology. Academic Press, New York, Vol. 1.Google Scholar
  32. Meighen EA (1993) Bacterial bioluminescence: organisation, regulation and application of the lux genes. Faseb J 7: 1016–1022.Google Scholar
  33. Meighen EA (1994) Genetics of bacterial bioluminescence. Annu Rev Genet 28: 117–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Meighen EA (1988) Enzymes and genes from the lux operon of the bioluminescent bacteria. Annu Rev Microbiol 42: 151–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Muchie M (2002) The new partnership for African development (NEPAD): a false or true start for shaping Africa’s decolonised future? Aalborg, DIR – ISSN 0904-8154. Development Research Series; 105.Google Scholar
  36. Muchie M (2000) Leather processing in Ethiopia and Kenya: lessons from India. Tech Soc 22: 537–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mwinyihija M, Strachan NJC, Meharg A, Killham K (2005a) Biosensor based toxicity dissection of tannery and associated environmental samples. J Am Leather Chem Assoc 100: 381–490.Google Scholar
  38. Mwinyihija M, Strachan NJC, Dawson J, Meharg A, Killham K (2006) An ecotoxicological approach to assessing the impact of tanning industry effluent on river health. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 50: 316–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mwinyihija M (2007) Assessment of anaerobic lagoons efficiency in reducing toxicity levels of tannery effluent in Kenya. Res J Environ Toxicol 1(4): 167–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nriagu JO (1988) Production and uses of chromium. pp. 81–104. In: Nriagu JO, Nieboer E (eds.) Chromium in natural and human environments. Wiley Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
  41. Nybroe O, Jorgensen PE, Henze M (1992) Enzyme activities in wastewater and activated sludge. Water Res. 26 (5): 199–202.Google Scholar
  42. Paton GI, Rattary E.A.S, Campbell CD, Cressor MS, Glover LA, Meeussen JCL, Killham K (1997b) Use of genetically modified biosensors for soil ecotoxicity testing. pp. 397–418. In: Pankhurst C, Doube B, Gupta V (eds.) Biological indicators of Soil Health and Sustainable Productivity. CAB International, Oxford. Google Scholar
  43. Paton GI, Campbell CD, Glover LA, Killham K (1995) Assessment of bioavailability of heavy metals using lux modified constructs of Pseudomonas fluorescens. Lett Appl Microbiol 20: 52–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Prosser JI (1994) Molecular marker systems for detection of genetically engineered microorganisms in the environment. Microbiology 140: 5–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Price DRH (1978) Fish as indicators of water quality. Water Pollut Control 77: 285–296.Google Scholar
  46. Ruhling A, Tyler G (1973) Heavy metal pollution and decomposition of spruce needle litter. Oikos 24: 402–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rossel D, Tarradellas J (1991) Dehydrogenase activity of soil microflora: significance in ecotoxicological test. Environ Toxicol Water Qual 6: 17–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stein K, Schwedt G (1994) Chromium speciation in the wastewater from a tannery. Fresen J Anal Chem 350: 38–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Shaw LJY, Glover LA, Killham K, Osborn D, Meharg AA (2000) Bioavailability of 2,4-dichlorophenol associated with soil water-soluble humic material. Environ Sci Tech 34: 4721–4726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Steinberg SM, Poziomek EJ, Engelman WH, Rogers KR (1995) A review of environmental applications of bioluminescence measurements. Chemosphere 30: 2155–2195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stevenson IL (1959) Dehydrogenase activity in soil. Can J Microbiol 5: 229–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Skujins J (1973) Dehydrogenase: an indicator of biological activities in arid soil. Bull Ecol Res Commun (Stockholm) 17: 235–241.Google Scholar
  53. Skujins J (1978) History of abiotic soil enzyme research, pp. 1–49. In: Burns RG (ed.) Soil enzymes. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  54. Schinner FA, Niederbacher R, Neuwinger I (1980) Influence of compound fertiliser and cupric sulphate on soil enzymes and CO2 evolution. Plant Soil 57: 85–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sommervile L, Greaves MP, Verstraete W, Poole NJ, van Dijk H., Anderson, JPE (1978) Recommended laboratory tests for assessing the side effects of pesticides in soil microflora. In: Sommerville L, Greaves MP (eds.) Pesticide effects on soil microflora. Taylor and Francis, London.Google Scholar
  56. Spacie A, McCarty LS, Rand GM (1995) Bioaccumulation and bioavailability in multiphase systems. pp. 493–521. In: Rand GM (ed.) Fundamentals of aquatic toxicology: effects, environmental fate and risk assessment. Taylor and Francis, Washington.Google Scholar
  57. Tiensing T (2002) Novel techniques in assessing bioavailability of pollutants in soils. PhD thesis, University of Aberdeen, U.K.Google Scholar
  58. Thalmann A (1968) Zur bestimmung der deydrogenase activitat im boden mittels Triphenytetraz-oliumchlorid (TTC). Landwirt Forsch 21: 249–258.Google Scholar
  59. Tyler G (1976) Heavy metal pollution, phosphatase activity and mineralisation of organic phosphorous in forest soils. Soil Biol Biochem 8: 327–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Trevors JT, Mayfield CI, Innis WE (1981) A rapid toxicty test using Pseudomonas fluorescens. Bull Environ Contam toxicol 26: 433–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. UNEP IE/PAC (1994) Tanneries and the Environment – A Technical Guide, Technical Report (2nd Print) Series No 4, ISBN 92 807 1276 4.Google Scholar
  62. Walsh AR, O’Halloran J (1996a) Chromium speciation in tannery effluent – 1: an assessment of techniques and role of organic Cr(III) complexes. Water Res 30: 2393–2400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Walsh AR, O’Halloran J (1996b) Chromium speciation in Tannery effluents – II: speciation in effluent and in a receiving estuary. Water Res 30: 2401–2412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wilke BM, Keuffel AB (1998) Short term experiments for the estimation of long term effects of inorganic pollutants on soil microbial activity. Z. Pflanzenernahr Bodenkd 151: 399–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zywicki B, Reemtsma T, Jekel M (2002) Analysis of commercial vegetable tanning agents by reversed-phase liquid chromatography–electrospray ionisation–tandem mass spectrometry and its application to the wastewater. J Chrom A 970: 191–200.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leather Development CouncilNairobiKenya

Personalised recommendations