Definitions for xenobioticˌzɛn ə baɪˈɒt ɪk, -bi-, ˌzi nə-

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word xenobiotic

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

xen•o•bi•ot•icˌzɛn ə baɪˈɒt ɪk, -bi-, ˌzi nə-(n.)

  1. a chemical or substance that is foreign to an organism or biological system.

    Category: Biochemistry

Origin of xenobiotic:



  1. xenobiotic(Noun)

    Any foreign compound not produced by an organism's metabolism

  2. xenobiotic(Adjective)

    Of or pertaining to xenobiosis.

  3. xenobiotic(Adjective)

    Relating to a substance foreign to the body or ecological system.


  1. Xenobiotic

    A xenobiotic is a chemical which is found in an organism but which is not normally produced or expected to be present in it. It can also cover substances which are present in much higher concentrations than are usual. Specifically, drugs such as antibiotics are xenobiotics in humans because the human body does not produce them itself, nor are they part of a normal diet. Natural compounds can also become xenobiotics if they are taken up by another organism, such as the uptake of natural human hormones by fish found downstream of sewage treatment plant outfalls, or the chemical defenses produced by some organisms as protection against predators. However, the term xenobiotics is very often used in the context of pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls and their effect on the biota, because xenobiotics are understood as substances foreign to an entire biological system, i.e. artificial substances, which did not exist in nature before their synthesis by humans. The term xenobiotic is derived from the Greek words ξένος = foreigner, stranger and βίος = life, plus the Greek suffix for adjectives -τικός, -ή, -ό.


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