Hormone active agents constitute a dangerous class of pollutants. Among them, those agents that mimic the action of estrogens on target cells and are part of the group of endocrine-disruptor compounds (EDCs) are termed estrogenic EDCs, the main focus of this review. Exposure to these compounds causes a number of negative effects, including breast cancer, infertility and animal hermaphroditism. However, especially in underdeveloped countries, limited efforts have been made to warn people about this serious issue, explain the methods of minimizing exposure, and develop feasible and efficient mitigation strategies at different levels and in various environments. For instance, the use of bioremediation processes capable of transforming EDCs into environmentally friendly compounds has been little explored. A wide diversity of estrogen-degrading microorganisms could be used to develop such technologies, which include bioremediation processes for EDCs that could be implemented in biological filters for the post-treatment of wastewater effluent. This review describes problems associated with EDCs, primarily estrogenic EDCs, including exposure as well as the present status of understanding and the effects of natural and synthetic hormones and estrogenic EDCs on living organisms. We also describe potential biotechnological strategies for EDC biodegradation, and suggest novel treatment approaches for minimizing the persistence of EDCs in the environment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis