Research Center for Environment and Health (GSF)#FE 75184, BA 31/139166/02/U, 2002-2004, PI: Perminova I.V.

Humic substances as natural adaptogens: evaluation of the biological effects and their relationship to the molecular properties

General concept

The humic substances (HS) play several key functions in soil, freshwater and marine environments. The fertilizing effects of HS on the plant growth and detoxifying action towards different ecotoxicants are most widely acknowledged and have been intensively studied over the last years. At the same time, the ability of HS to strengthen the resistance of living organisms to non-specific stress factors is frequently reported, but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. Given the particular importance of the natural adaptogens for sustaining the human and environmental health, the mechanistic studies on the adaptogenic properties of HS should be given an extreme priority. They can contribute substantially into the knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of the co-evolution of the living systems with their non-living environments and provide the missing scientific backgrounds for the systematic use of HS for agricultural and medical applications.

The goal of the proposed project is to acquire a systematic knowledge on the membranotropic and immunoadaptogenic properties of differently fractionated and modified HS and on their relationship to the structure, and to elaborate the practical approaches to preparation of the biologically active humic materials.

To reach the goal, the following objectives are to be fulfilled:

  1. to prepare an extended set of narrow humic fractions differing greatly in physiologically relevant properties: hydrophobicity, molecular weight, content of functional groups;
  2. to characterize the obtained materials with particular attention to identification of the partial structures, to establishing the molecular weight and charge/size distribution, and to evaluation of hydrophobicity;
  3. to assess the adaptogenic effects of the target HS on the stressed biotargets involving the higher plants and yeast cells;
  4. to evaluate the membranotropic properties of the target HS in relation to the cells of higher plants and yeast;
  5. to investigate antigenic properties of the most biologically active humic materials;
  6. to establish a linkage between the structure, molecular properties and adaptogenic activity of HS, and conclude on the most prospective source and treatment technique for obtaining the humic materials of the specific activity