• Mechanisms of redox reactions of Fe- and Mn-oxides were discussed. • Oxidative reactions of Mn- and Fe-oxides in complex systems were reviewed. • Reductive reaction of Fe(II)/iron oxides in complex systems was examined. • Future research on examining the redox reactivity in complex systems was suggested. Conspectus Redox reactions of Fe- and Mn-oxides play important roles in the fate and transformation of many contaminants in natural environments. Due to experimental and analytical challenges associated with complex environments, there has been a limited understanding of the reaction kinetics and mechanisms in actual environmental systems, and most of the studies so far have only focused on simple model systems. To bridge the gap between simple model systems and complex environmental systems, it is necessary to increase the complexity of model systems and examine both the involved interaction mechanisms and how the interactions affected contaminant transformation. In this Account, we primarily focused on (1) the oxidative reactivity of Mn- and Fe-oxides and (2) the reductive reactivity of Fe(II)/iron oxides in complex model systems toward contaminant degradation. The effects of common metal ions such as Mn2+ , Ca2+, Ni2+, Cr3+ and Cu2+, ligands such as small anionic ligands and natural organic matter (NOM), and second metal oxides such as Al, Si and Ti oxides on the redox reactivity of the systems are briefly summarized.