Organic Micropollutants in the Environment: Ecotoxicity Potential and Methods for Remediation

  • Muhammad ArslanEmail author
  • Inaam Ullah
  • Jochen A. Müller
  • Naeem Shahid
  • Muhammad Afzal


The fate, occurrence, and ecotoxicological significance of organic micropollutants (OMPs) in the environment are a relatively recent challenge faced by societies. The continuous discharge of these pollutants, without any regulatory measures, may cause environmental concerns even at their low concentrations. Recent studies have reported the fate of many OMPs in the environment along with their ecotoxicological potential. While acute toxicity due to OMPs is considered unlikely at environmental concentrations, the chronic exposures may cause damages to biotic elements of ecosystem at large. In this review, we are discussing exposure pathways with particular emphasis on the role of aquatic and terrestrial plants in bioaccumulation, associated potential risks, and remedies for the abatement of OMPs and their metabolites. Further negligence on behalf of concerned authorities and scientific community may lead to unwanted consequences if proper measures are not taken. These measures start with the further development and adoption of sensitive, robust methods to detect and analyze OMPs in the environment. To assess potential risks and hazards of OMPs and their metabolites, methods must be devised to generate data on their usage, environmental persistence, and mobility. Next, strategies must be devised for risk assessment of biologically active toxins within the class of OMPs. A consensus ought to be reached to adopt a multi-trophic environmental risk assessment (ERA) regime, as is recommended for ERA of synthetic pesticides and insecticidal proteins produced in transgenic crops.


Environmental pollution Organic micropollutants Ecotoxicity Remediation 



We acknowledge the financial support from the Brian J. O’Neill Memorial Scholarship awarded by the Grzybowski Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Arslan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Inaam Ullah
    • 3
  • Jochen A. Müller
    • 1
  • Naeem Shahid
    • 4
  • Muhammad Afzal
    • 5
  1. 1.Environmental Biotechnology Division, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental ResearchLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.RWTH Aachen University, Institute for Environmental ResearchAachenGermany
  3. 3.Department of BiotechnologyShaheed Benazir Bhutto UniversitySheringalPakistan
  4. 4.Environmental Health Division, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental ResearchLeipzigGermany
  5. 5.Environmental Biotechnology Division, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE)FaisalabadPakistan

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