Effects of detergents on natural ecosystems and wastewater treatment processes: a review

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2019 Sep;26(26):26439-26448. doi: 10.1007/s11356-019-05802-x. Epub 2019 Jul 27.


Among the different contaminants, detergent as an important pollutant has serious risks to natural ecosystems. Furthermore, detergents can pass into the wastewater treatment plants and have bad effect on their performance. They are part of human life and consumed for different aims especially hygienic purposes. Therefore, detergent components can enter to soil and water bodies from different sources. Detergents affect fauna and flora, and they have direct and indirect effects on ecosystems. Eutrophication, foaming, and altering parameters such as temperature, salinity, turbidity, and pH are more important, and their effects need to be managed and controlled. Researchers confirmed that aerobic processes are able to degrade the most of detergents but anaerobic degradation is not possible because of restricted metabolic pathways and toxicity of them. Therefore, production of environment-friendly detergent is an important issue around the world. Graphical abstract.

Keywords: Biodegradation; Detergents; Foaming; Soil pollution; Toxicity; Wastewater treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Detergents / analysis*
  • Detergents / toxicity
  • Ecosystem*
  • Eutrophication
  • Humans
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Wastewater / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Detergents
  • Soil
  • Waste Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical