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Organic input in the aquatic system & organic pollution is almost similar te
rm except that organic input may be internal ie. Indigenous but organic pollutio
n will be always external, not caused by indigenous organism. Organic materials
are the compound that can readily decomposed by the microorganism. Organic matte
r in any water bodies are found in trimorphic condition i.e. three forms :-
DOM , POM & colloidal form
Dissolve organic matter (DOM) :-
Organic matter which can pass through 0.45 µm filter. It is how recognised
that dissolve organic compounds may influence the state of inorganic substances
in the sea water & also affect sedimentary process in the water bodies. DOM can
be commonly measured as DOC in oceans.
Particulate organic matter (POM) :-
Organic matter which canâ t pass through a 0.45µm filter. It is also called
as seston & is an important component of food chain in sea. POM includes both li
ving 7 non-living suspended particles in the sea larger than 0.5µm diameter.
Colloidal form :-
It is formed due to adsorption of the water by the organic matter. Size r
ange is similar to DOM.
All natural water bodies can oxidize organic matter without development of nuisa
nce conditions provide that the organic matter load is within the range of oxyge
n resources of water. In balanced aquatic system the indigenously produced organ
ic matter is always in amounts that allow its complete degradation by the oxygen
available in water, without disturbing its natural balance. It is only when the
system receives organic matter in excess form outside, the oxygen tends to dimi
nish & lead to the development of hypoxic or totally anaerobic conditions.
Both aerobic & anaerobic organisms are cosmopolitan. An increase in organi
c load (input) a system 1st activates the aerobic microorganisms which exhaust t
he O2 supply of water. When O2 supply of water is less than BOD it leads to the
activity of anaerobic microorganisms which leads to accumulation of nitrates, su
lphates, amino acid etc. In aquatic system.
The overall decomposition of organic matter yield stabilised end products
including the plant nutrients leading to the eutrophication especially in regio
n away from the mixing of organic wastes. All these organic inputs results into
pollution of water bodies which has adverse effect on the system affecting both
biotic & abiotic factor of that ecosystem & results in destruction of that ecosy
Nature of organic matter :-
All the organic substances which can serve as food for living organism to obtain
their energy needs and to build new cells can be termed as organic matter. The
organic matter based on its origin can be divided into two main categories i.e.,
synthesized naturally by biochemical means and synthesized chemically in the la
boratory. However except for a few most synthetic compound are biologically iner
t to degradation and hence cannot be considered in the category of organic matte
r. The non biodegradable organic materials affect the ecosystem in a different w
The most commonly found organic materials ,both in the nature and in organ
ic wastes are the biologically originated carbohydrate , fat and proteins,which
are readily utilized by the microorganism as thelr energy source and even serve
as foods for higher organisms.
Carbohydrate are the organic compounds containing C, H & O(CHO) in which the hyd
rogen & oxygen atoms are present in same ratio in which they occur in water(2Hyd
rogen:1Oxygen). A no. of industries which process wood, cotton, textile, paper &
food have substantial quantities of carbohydrates in their waste water. The car
bohydrates can be grouped in three main categories based on the structure
1. Monosaccharides
2. Disaccharides
3. Poly saccharides
Monosaccharides are the simplest sugar made up of either 5 Carbon chain(pento
ses) or of six carbon chain(Hexoses). The general formula of pentose is C5H10O5
& hexoses is C6H12O6 .
Disaccharide composed of two molecule of hexose sugars with a general formula
of C12H22O11. Three main types of disaccharide sugars are sucrose, maltose and
Polysaccharides are condensation products of monosaccharide sugars. The impo
rtant polysaccharides are starch cellulose & hemicelluloses. In starch(C6H10O5)x
hundreds of glucose molecules are joined in definit fashion. Cellulose also hav
e same general formula as starch, but the glucose units are joined differently.
Hemicelluloses have alternate units of pentoses & hexoses.
Fats also contain C,H,and O,but unlike carbohydrate ,the oxygen is presen
t in much lesser quantity . they are sparingly soluble in water but get readily
soluble in organic solvent . chemically lipids are esters of glycerol .
The fatty acid present in the lipid
are usually 16-18 carbon atoms , though acids with smaller carbon chains my al
so occur in appreciable quantities in certain fats . the lipid are called as oil
when they are liquid at normal temperature & fats when they are solid. The oil
has predominance of unsaturated fatty acids, whereas fats usually have saturated
acids .
Proteins have C,H O&N with small quantity of S occasionally. Because of high
nitrogen content of protein which varies from 15-18% they are commonly consider
ed as nitrogenous organic matters.
Unit of protein is amino acids which are linked by polypeptide bonds . there
are 20 different types of amino acids which form building blocks of proteins di
fferent sequences.
An amino acids is amphoteric in nature having two active groups the amine(-
NH )& acid (-cooH ). A few amino acids like cystine & methionine also contain
Phosphorus containing compounds:-
A large number of organic compounds contains phosphorus in varying amo
unt . following are the list of compound-
Nucleotides(DNA&RNA) having units of purine & pyrimidine
Polyribose nucleic acid
APS(adenocine phospho sulphate)
The phosphorous in the compounds is mainly present as phosphate radical (PO
Other organic compounds
Urea in an important organic compound present in appereciable quantity in e
xcreta of animals & man . it is a nitrogen bearing compound .
Source of organic matter (organic input)
Source of organic matter to the aquatic system can be classified primarily
into two :-
External (allochthoonous)
a) External (allochthoonous)
External Source of organic matter can be grouped into two on their origin
1)Anthropogenic (human interference)
1) Anthropogenic (human interference)
It includes the organic matter produced due to human interference. It can b
e further studied in following heading :-
a) Municipal sewage & solid waste
b) Industrial waste water
c) Agriculture
State wise waste water generation in India
a) Municipal sewage & solid waste :-
It include mainly the sewage released from domestic areas. It includes orga
nic material such as excreta, detergent, food material & other household organic
wastes. Average raw sewage contains usually 1.0 % solid which remain both in su
spended & dissolved form. Of the organic constituent 65% are nitrogenous (mainly
protein), 25% are carbohydrate & 10% are fat(Tebbut 1977). Discharge of sewage
can put great quantities of nitrogenous organic waste in the water bodies. Even
after the conventional secondary treatment a large quantity of dissolved organic
matter remains in sewage which may be still enough to cause organic pollution.
Human waste :-
It includes the excreta of alimentary canal, termed as faces.they mainly
consist of intestinal bacteria, which comprises the most bulky portion of human
waste. The urine of which about 1.5 l get excreted daily by human adult, has bee
n mostly water dissolved nitrogenous wastes & salts. The urine also carried away
foreign substances like drugs & other toxins.
Detergent :-
Detergent have attracted special attention in many countries because of a vari
ety of pollution problems involving their constituents. Accourding to rigorous
definition, a detergent may be defined as anything that behaves as a cleaning a
The appearance of bubbles & foams on a glass of water drawn from kitchen ta
p was the 1st indication to many people that the domestic water in some are is n
ot very pure. The froathy â headâ on a glass of drinking water was caused by presenc
e of surfactant. Detergents consist of surfactant or surface active agent & a nu
mber of builders. The surfactant lowers the surface tension of the liquid in whi
ch it is dissolved by concentrating at surfaces & interfaces & its cleaning prop
erties arises from its ability to replace dirt on surfaces by being preferential
ly absorbed at surfaces & by helping the dirt to be carried away as stabllized
emulsion or suspension.
The surfactants generally consists of polar or hydrophilic groups (such as
CO32-, SO32-, NH4+, PO43-) that are soluble in water & oily or lipophilic groups
that are soluble in lipids .some example of surfactants are as given below :-
Alkyl benzene sulfonates (A.B.S.),Linear alkyl sulfonate (L.A.S.)
AMMONIUM SALTS (cationic surfactant)
Polyoxyethylene (non ionic )
Phosphate is one of the major component of surfactant. Sodium tripolypho
sphate , the most widely used phosphate builder in detergent , is one of a famil
y of phosphate used extensively in detergent.
POLYPHOSPHATE builders are of great concern because they and their hydr
olysis products obviously contains phosphorous ,which has been implicated in the
eutrophication is generally accepted that detergent use account for
about 50% of the phosphate in the waste water ; near large metropolitan areas
where there has been little dilution of waste waters,some estimates that 70% is
Solid waste
Solid waste contains little percentage of water . it includes unused foo
d materials ,paper ,waste of vegetables,fruits , & many other inorganic both deg
radable &non degradable materials such as plastic glass bottle etc. Dumping of s
olid waste in water bodies leads to the addition of organic waste to the water b
odies .
Industrial waste water
Industrial waste waters are important source of organic matter & is o
f different nature . a numbr of industries like food processing industries ,dair
y paper & pulp, sugar distilleries breweries tanneries textile & other have cons
iderable quantities of organic matter of varying nature besides other pollutants
. the volume of waste water from these industries is relatively large & caused
organic pollution after they are diverted to municipal sewers or are directly di
scharged in the aquatic systems without any treatment .
Table :-characteristics of some important organic wastes released from different

Release of oil incidently or intentionally in the sea is also an important sourc

e of organic material .oil is a natural substances ,extracted usually from The u
pper strata of the earth,& commonly called as petroleum. Crude petroleum is a mi
xture of several complex hydrocarbon, including substances bearing nitrogen ,sul
phur,& oxygen. Hundreds of small or big cases of oil spill occur every year are
as follows:-
Torrey canyon oil tanker ship carrying 1,17,000 tons crude oil, ran aground at t
he western entrance of the english channel near Britain in march .the argentine
ship bahia paraiso wrecked near the antrtica shoresin January 1989 spreading th
e oil in several kilometre area. In one of the worst oil spills in the arabin se
a affecting the Indian coast amaltese oil tanker puppy collided with a container
vessel world quince about 550 kilometer away from bomby on june 28,1989 . it
spills nearly 5000 tons of oil into the ocean.
Inspite of these incidents release of oil&grease occur fromthe fishing
vessels & other ship also aid some amount of organic matter to the sea.
Huge amount of waste materials such as unused food material, excreta,
damaged net etc re directly released into the sea.
For the better production different types of fertilizers are use
d which includes both organic & inorganic fertilizers. Pesticides are biologica
lly active chemicals which are used for killing the pest . most of the chemical
s used as pesticides are synthetic organic compounds .examples of pesticides ar
e as below :-
Nicotine alkaloid
Chlorinated hydrocarbon (DDT,DDD,BHC,aldrin )
Organic phosphate chemical(malathion,parathion,TEPP,DDVP) A
long with surface runoff these pesticides and fertilizers carry to the water

Dynamics of pesticides
Surface run off :
The run-off originating from urban areas picks up large quantities of o
rganic matter from the streets, houses, gardens and other places and reach bodie
s of water through municipal sewers or directly. The urban run-off is especially
important at the onset of rainy season after the dry spell during which huge qu
antities of organic matter accumulate in the city drains.
Rural run-off originates from the sparsely populated and from natural vegetated
areas. The run-off contains various quantities of organic matter derived mainly
from the dead plant matter from the annual and deciduous vegetation. The run-off
passing through the agricultural res my also pick up substantial quantities of
organic manure, and dried parts of the crop plants. The rural run-off, in genera
l, is of diffuse nature with no point sources.
INTERNAL (autochthonous) â
Different indigenous activity such as volcanic eruption , dead decaying ani
mals ,excreta of animals etc adds organic matter in the water bodies. The organi
c matter produced indigenously within the water bodies is the results of primary
& secondry production. The advanced stage of eutrophication often show the sympt
om of high organic load due to accumulation of excessive dead organic matter. Th
e growing plant &animals also secrete a variety of trace organics in natural wat
er. The algal and fungal growth produce several organic compounds which imparts
characteristics taste & smell to the water . some examples of these compounds ar
e as below :-
Dimethyl sulphide,methyl mercaptum , butyl mercaptum etc .
Volcanic eruption adds heavy amount of organic material along with differ
ent elements.
Degradation of organic compound-
There are three factors responsible for degradation

Physical factor includes wind action, sunlight, waves, tides, etc. Chemical fact
or includes all the present ions in the water. Biological factors includes all t
he saprophytic & other microorganism. Among all these factors biological factors
are more responsible for degradation.
The degradation of organic matter in water is facilitated by different micr
oorganisms that stabilized the organic matter by forming the end products usuall
y immune to further degradation, such as CO2, H2O, NH3, H2S etc.
The degradation of organic matter is also called oxidation due to release
of hydrogen and electron which are finally accepted by oxygen or in absence of i
t by some other acceptor to form water and other by-products.
The aerobic oxidation yields the end products which are usually simple and
stable, but the anaerobic oxidation is always associated with accumulation of s
ome relatively simpler but unstable compound like alcohols, ketones, acids, met
hane and others.
Hydrolysis is the important biochemical reaction carried out by extracel
lular enzyme whereupon the water is added to break down larger molecules, such a
s of polysaccharide, protein & fat into monosaccharide, amino acids and organic
acid respectively.
Degradation of carbon compounds:-
The lower molecular weight carbon compounds inside the microbial cells ar
e degraded by intracellular enzymes. In aerobic conditions, the overall reaction
is accomplished by a series of enzyme reaction that dehydrogenate each molecule
sequentially and hand over the liberated hydrogen to oxygen forming water.
C6H12O6 + 6O2 â 6CO2 +6H2O
An aerobic degradation can be summarised by the following rection.
C6H12O6 â 2CO2 + 2C2H5OH
Degradation of nitrogen containing compounds:-
The most abundant biologically important nitrogenous compounds formed
after hydrolysis of heavier molecules are amino acids,nitrogen bases (purines &
pyrimidines) and urea.
Anaerobic degradation
Aerobic degradation
The urea is degraded into carbondioxide and ammonia by the reaction of hydrolysi
s which is carried out by a no. of organisms. Reaction is given below:

Dynamics of nitrogen containing compoud

Degradation of sulphur containing compound:-
It can be shown by following chart
Production of hydrogen sulphide

Degradation of phosphorus containing compound:-

All phosphorus containing compounds yield inorganic phosphate after decomp
osition as shown in the following reaction
Parameters for measuring organic pollution:-
Three parameters
1) Physical
2) Chemical
3) Biological
1)physical parameters- temperature & colour
Temperature:- since the BOD is based on biological activity, temp. Greatly influ
ences the rate of oxygen consumption. To estimate the temperature effects, it ha
s been agreed upon to measure the BOD universally at 200C.
Colour:- aquatic bodies having high organic load black in appearance.
2)chemical parameter- BOD, COD, SOD & TOD
BOD:- All oxidizable organic matter when degraded by aerobic microorganisms cons
umes the oxygen present in water. The respiratory demand for oxygen exerted by m
icroorganisms, while stabilizing the organic matter under aerobic conditions, is
called â biochemical oxygen demandâ (BOD). On an verage basis, the oxygen consumed by
the microorganisms is proportional to the magnitude of organic matter present i
n water. The amount of BOD can be determined by using following equation:
BOD levels at different dilution of organic material can be measured from follow
ing table.
COD:- Chemical oxygen demand is a rapid test carried out for determination of t
he total oxygen demand by organic material present in the sample. In this test o
rganic matter is oxidized by making use of a strong chemical oxidizing agent unl
ike BOD where oxidation is carried out by microorganism. The COD test, though no
t a satisfactory substitute of BOD because of some limitation , still considered
to be the best method for organic matter estimation mainly because of its rapid
ity in performing the test.
The COD value do not indicate whether the organi
c matter present in the sample is biodegradable & rate of oxygen consumption by
the system. At the same time there may be many organic materials that are chemic
ally oxidizable but not by biological means & vice-versa for example , organic m
aterials like aromatic hydrocarbon , pyridine, benzene,tolune &nitrogen in the f
orm of ammonia are not chemically oxidizable but get readily oxidized by microor
SOD:- sediment oxygen demand is the amount of oxygen required for oxidation by t
he sediments. Higher the organic load of sediment higher will be the SOD.
TOD:- total oxygen demand refers to the total amount of oxygen required to burn
the whole sample .
Other chemical parameter:-
The values of organic carbon, ammonical nitrogen , total organic phosphorus,
&even oxygen can also be interpreted in terms of organic pollution, & can be ta
ken as a measure of organic pollution.
3)biological parameter:- it includes smell& microorganism.
Smell-aquatic body having high organic load have a pungent smell due excessiv
e release of ammonia &hydrogensulphide due to degradation mechanism of microorga
Microorganism: there are certain type of microorganism which are indicator of ce
rtain type of organic matter as given below
E.coli-Municipal waste(more faecal matter)
Water hyacinth-phosphate input.
Algae â high nutrient load
There are different types of biological indices of organic pollution like
Shannon & weiner diveraity indices
Odums index
Kothes species deficit index
Goodnight & whitley s index
Palmur s algal genus index
Eutrophication , a result of high organic input : -
The process of increase in the nutrients of waters & as a result of s
purt in algal productivity is called eutrophication . the present concern for eu
trophication relates to the rapidly increasing quantity of nitrogen & phosphorou
s with organic matter & other sources. The process of eutrophication is greatly
influenced by the increased supply of nutrients through various human activities
such as discharge of domestic sewage , industrial waste , agricultural and urba
n run off.this increased supply of nutrients triggers the algal growth at a much
faster rate , thus increases the speed of eutrophication . the relation of the
rate of eutrophication with the age of water bodies is as shown below:-

Eutrophication has adverse effect on animal of that water bodies because it

reduces the available O2 & other nutrients which leads to the mass mortility of
aquatic animal.
Although addition of organic matter to the water bodies is a part of bi
ochemical cycle but if addition crosses its threshold it affects the ecosystem o
f that water bodies very badly & ultimately leads to the destruction of biodiver
sity of that ecosystem.
Goel .P.K(1996).water pollution causes, effect and age interna
tional publishers, 39-43,61-86, 88-94
Mohapatra B.C. Saha C.(2000). Aquatic pollution & Management. C.I.F.A.(I.C.A.R.)
Bhubaneswar. 29-34, 65 ,
Chhatwal G.R. Ktyal T. Mohan Katyal, Mehra M.C.,Satake N. , Nagahiro T. , Enviao
mental water pollution and its control , Anmol publication , New Delhi . 200-203