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Опубликовано 2010-05-30 Опубликовано на SciPeople2010-05-30 11:38:54 ЖурналContemporary Problems of Ecology, 2008, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 147-152

Basics of the molecular-ecological mechanism of water quality formation and water self-purification
Ostroumov S.A. / С.А. Остроумов / Сергей (sergei) Остроумов (ostroumov)
Аннотация Contemporary Problems of Ecology, 2008, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 147-152. http://scipeople.com/publication/99105/; Water self-purification is an important example of ecosystem services. This function of aquatic ecosystems is necessary for sustainable development, and for sustainable use of aquatic resources (water resources), as well for environmental safety. The analysis made by the author in a published paper (Ostroumov, 2008) showed that aquatic ecosystem (both marine and freshwater one) features a multi-component molecular-ecological mechanism for upgrading water quality. In other words, it is a multi-component, multi-process biomachinery for water quality formation and self-purification. The biomachinery includes the following items: (1) sources of energy for self-purification mechanisms, (2) the major taxa of living organisms as components of the biomachinery; (3) the biomachinery contains the functional blocks that perform functions of filters, mills, and pumps. The experiments that the author carried out demonstrated how several types of chemical pollutants may produce damage to this delicate and very useful biomachinery which makes water clean. The experiments demonstrated that some chemical pollutants decreased important and useful functions of aquatic invertebrate animals which contribute to purification of water. We have found that the chemical pollutant as diverse as synthetic surfactants, detergents, salts of Cd, Cu, Pb, Hg, Co, Ti, V (Na3VO4 •12 H2O), and oil hydrocarbons inhibited water filtration by bivalve molluscs, the marine mussels (the Latin name of the mussels: Mytilus galloprovincialis). One of the practical conclusions is that we now see another additional aspect of important hazard from the low, sublethal concentrations of the chemicals that pollute the aquatic environment. Not only death of aquatic organisms, but also even a decrease of their functional activity in polluted aquatic ecosystems poses some danger and risk to the water system. The potential hazard of those low levels of the chemical pollutants is that the potential of the ecosystem to purify water will be decreased. As a final result, in future we may have water of worse quality. This may be of interest to the scientists and specialists in the following fields: aquatic ecology, water science, environmental toxicology and chemistry, ecotoxicology, and water resource management. The reference to the paper where this analysis was published: Ostroumov S. A. Basics of the molecular-ecological mechanism of water quality formation and water self-purification. - Contemporary Problems of Ecology, 2008 (Feb), Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 147-152. [ISSN 1995-4255 (Print) 1995-4263 (Online); DOI 10.1134/S1995425508010177; http://www.springerlink.com/content/e380263154u73045/; http://www.researchgate.net/file.FileLoader.html?key=e533be77c87735c6dcc5cfdb9db96cec;


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From the text of the paper: Ostroumov S. A. Basics of the molecular-ecological mechanism of water quality formation and water self-purification. - Contemporary Problems of Ecology, 2008, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 147-152 Остроумов (ostroumov) Сергей (sergei)
From the text of the paper:
Ostroumov S. A. Basics of the molecular-ecological mechanism of water quality formation and water self-purification. — Contemporary Problems of Ecology, 2008 (Feb), Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 147-152.

A set of six principles was formulated.
These principles are typically predominant but
not universal because some ecosystems demonstrate
deviations from them.
1. Moderation of the rate of water self-purification
by regulatory mechanisms. The actual rate of certain
processes is in many cases lower than the maximal expected
one. This may be related to the action of regulatory
mechanisms. It has been noted that if the maximum
value of a parameter in an ecosystem does not match its
optimum value for organisms, this parameter is likely to
undergo self-regulation [19]. For example, the rate of
water filtration by aquatic organisms is regulated. It decreases
significantly at elevated suspension concentration
in water in comparison with the maximum possible
2. Typically, maximal diversification of the executives
of the main functions of water quality formation
and self-purification machinery is observed. Indeed, as
mentioned above, virtually all functions (oxygen release,
DOM oxidation and conversion, water filtration,
etc.) are duplicated, being performed by multiple
species of the ecosystem.
3. Multiple stages of the biogenic migration of elements
in the operation of the molecular ecological
mechanism of water medium parameter formation are
often observed. For example, the carbon atom of a carbon
dioxide molecule is involved in a pathway of many
stages: It is reduced during photosynthesis by an alga;
then it is oxidized in the body of a heterotroph consumer,
or it comes to bottom sediments with debris,
where it can be oxidized by an aerobic bacterium; then
it is reduced again by a methanogenic bacterium to
form methane; then it is oxidized by a methanotrophic
bacterium; and eventually, this carbon can again be
involved in photosynthesis.
4. Synecological cooperation: Many processes participating
in the formation of water medium parameter
formation and self-purification occur at higher rates
and efficiencies owing to cooperation of two or more
aquatic species.
5. The significance of biota is constantly preserved
at a high level throughout the ecosystem volume and all
the time, independently of the time of day, season, and
succession stage.
6. Regulated balance of oppositely directed processes.
Organisms simultaneously excrete and absorb
organic molecules, oxygen, and carbon dioxide; produce
suspended organic matter (SOM) and remove it
from water by filtration; etc. This fact points once more
to the importance of all regulation types, involving biotic
and abiotic factors, and emphasizes the danger of
anthropogenic distortion of these regulatory mechanisms.
In some respects (continuous operation, importance
for maintaining the structure and stability of biologic
systems, and pollutant sensitivity), the molecular ecological
mechanism of water quality formation and
maintenance and restoration of water medium parameters
in aquatic ecosystems is similar to reparation
mechanisms at other life organization levels.
This article concerns only some components of the
complex set of processes and factors involved in water
medium parameter formation and water self-purification.
Other components of the self-purification machinery
are considered in [3, 5, 15, 16, 19].
8. Conclusions and recommendations for environment
preservation practice. On the grounds of our experimental
studies [8–13], other publications of mine
[14], and data published by other scientists [e.g., 3, 4],
the following conclusions can be drawn:
1. Virtually all species are involved in processes responsible
for aquatic ecosystem self-purification or in
regulation of these processes. Distortion of these regulatory
mechanisms manifests itself most clearly after
invasion of new species into the ecosystems. This provides
another argument for the preservation of the
whole biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems [14].
2. Species of terrestrial ecosystems and habitats adjacent
to water basins and watercourses take an active
part in purification processes. Therefore, water quality
preservation demands the preservation of the biodiversity
of these terrestrial ecosystems as well.
3. The modern concept of biodiversity preservation
differs from the previous one, based on the preservation
of species gene pool. It follows from the analysis reported
in [13, 14] that the biodiversity-preservation
tasks and conditions should include not only preservation
of gene pools and populations but also preservation
of the functional activity of these populations, which
contributes to the maintenance of water quality and, as
a consequence, the maintenance of stability of the
whole aquatic ecosystem.
4. The operation of self-purification machinery in an
ecosystem should be taken into account to determine
critical anthropogenic loads [15] on the ecosystem and
to evaluate the threat of anthropogenic impact on biota
5. The self-purification system is important for analyzing
the role and fate of most important pollutants, including
radionuclides [16], heavy metals [23–25], and
other pollutants.
6. The theory under development emphasizes the
importance of molecular conversion of pollutants. The
poor understanding of this problem is related to blanks
in the knowledge of aquatic ecosystems. The filling of
these blanks should be given priority to in further studies.
They include problems of biochemistry and biophysics
of aquatic ecosystems [19, 26]; better knowledge
of the biochemical composition of DOM, role and
metabolism of particular DOM classes; and determination
of concentrations and activities of the enzymes dissolved
in waters of natural water bodies
(exoenzymes), as well as of the enzymes immobilized
on interfaces in aquatic ecosystems.
Comprehensive analysis of self-purification mechanisms
demands a broad range of factual data and consideration
of additional sources in scientific literature.
More detailed bibliography on the issues considered
here is presented in [27–29].

Table 1. Some factors and processes involved in the molecular ecological mechanism of water quality formation as compiled
from studies by many scientists
No. Water purification factors and processes
1.1 Dissolution and dilution
1.2 Carryover to the banks
1.3 Carryover to adjacent water basins and watercourses
1.4 Adsorption by suspended particles followed by sedimentation
1.5 Adsorption by bottom sediments
1.6 Evaporation
2.1 Hydrolysis
2.2 Photochemical conversion of DOM and pollutants
2.3 Catalytic redox conversion
2.4 Pollutant conversion induced by free radicals
2.5 Decrease in pollutant toxicity owing to binding to DOM
2.6 Oxygen-mediated chemical oxidation of pollutants
3.1 Adsorption and accumulation of pollutants, DOM, and biogens by aquatic organisms
3.2 Pollutant bioconversion: redox reactions, degradation, and conjugation
3.3 Extracellular enzymatic conversion of pollutant and DOM molecules performed by enzymes dissolved in the
water of natural basins and watercourses (exoenzymes) and enzymes immobilized on interfaces in aquatic
3.4 Removal of suspended particles from the water column by water filtration by aquatic organisms
3.5 Removal of suspended particles from the water column by adsorption on pellets excreted by aquatic organisms
3.6 Arrest or retardation of the supply of biogens and pollutants from bottom sediments to the water column;
accumulation and binding of biogens and pollutants by benthic organisms
3.7 Carryover of C, N, and P from the ecosystem with aquatic insect imagos (Plecoptera, Ephemeroptera, Odonata, Trichoptera, Diptera, etc.)
3.8 Production of allelopathic and bactericidal substances and their excretion to water
3.9 Carryover of C, N, and P from the ecosystem in the course of nourishment of fish-feeding and other predatory
animals living in areas adjacent to the water basin
3.10 Carryover of C, N, and P from the ecosystem with amphibians leaving water for land in the course of metamorphosis
3.11 Release of hydrogen peroxide by algae, which is essential for pollutant conversion by redox reactions
3.12 Excretion of substances participating in photochemical degradation of chemicals and pollutants (photosensibilizers and their precursors)
3.13 Excretion of substances essential for free-radical-mediated degradation of chemicals (organic ligands and their precursors)
3.14 Excretion of organic substances participating in formation of an organic surface film regulating heat and matter transport between the water and atmosphere (for details, see [19])
3.15 Bioconversion and adsorption of pollutants in soil during field watering with polluted water
3.16 Further fragmentation of large organism fragments supplied to the basin by aquatic animals
3.17 Regulation of the population and activity of organisms involved in water purification by interactions between organisms

Table 2. Recent data on the disturbance of water filtration as part of its self-purification under the action of pollutants. Action of various pollutants on the removal of suspended matter from water by filter-feeding organisms. The degree of suppressing activity of chemicals (effect on the efficiency of suspension removal, EESR) was calculated as in [6]

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(Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Moscow, 1998).
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of the Ocean (Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad, 1989).
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on Organisms (MAKS-Press, Moscow, 2001).
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E. N. Chernova, Heavy Metals in Commercial and Cultured
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key words:
how ecosystem maintain itself, aquatic ecosystem, secrets of stability, ecological stability, water sources, water of good quality, water clean, clear, drinkable, water supply,
basics, molecular-ecological mechanism, water quality, water self-purification, contemporary problems, ecology, ‘Sibirskii Ekologicheskii Zhurnal’, modern, ecological theory, polyfunctional role, biota, water quality formation, self-purification of aquatic ecosystems, sources of energy for self-purification mechanisms, main structural and functional units, self-purification system, processes, contributions of major taxa to self-purification, reliability, supporting mechanisms, response of components of the self-purification system to external factors, operation of water purification mechanisms, biodiversity, preservation, practice. surfactants, detergents, salts of Cd, Cu, Pb, Hg, Co, Ti, V (Na3VO4 •12 H2O), oil hydrocarbons, water filtration, bivalves, mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis, ecosystem services, sustainable development, sustainable use, aquatic resources, water resources, environmental safety, pollution, water treatment, waste water, contaminants, ecnvironmental sciences, hydrosphere, hazards, man-made effects, bioassay, xenobiotics; anthropogenic impact; S.A.Ostroumov, Sergei Ostroumov, С.А. Остроумов

shorter list key words:
aquatic ecosystem, ecological stability, water quality, water supply,
self-purification, environmental protection, water filtration, bivalves, ecosystem services, sustainable development, resources, environmental safety, pollution, contaminants, ecnvironmental sciences, hazards, man-made effects, xenobiotics;
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Ключевые слова на русском языке: водная экосистема, экологическая устойчивость, качество воды, водоснабжение, самоочищение, защита окружающей среды, фильтрация воды, двустворчатые моллюски, экосистемные услуги, экоустойчивое развитие, ресурсы, безопасность окружающей среды, загрязняющие вещества, науки об окружающей среде, ксенобиотики
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