Humic substances are the main constituents of natural organic matter, found in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Humic substances are a complex, dispersed, and heterogeneous mixture of various organic compounds synthesized from organic matter residues, decomposed by microorganisms. Most scientists indicate that humic substances are as a supramolecular association of small heterogeneous molecules stabilized by weak intermolecular bonds. When these substances are presented in water intended for drinking or industrial use, it can have a significant impact on the treatability of this water and on the success of chemical disinfection processes, due to possible formation of organic compounds harmful to human health. Moreover, the humic substances can be used of several ways such as fertilizer to help in the development of plants, to improve soil erosion and to removal of organic compounds and metals from soils and waters. In addition, humic substances suggest an important role in mitigating areas degraded by the phytoremediation technique. The purpose of chapter is to provide an overview of humic substances and to discuss their concepts, chemical characteristics, ecological effects and technological applications for soils and aquatic systems.
Part of the book: Humic Substances