Biodegradation of an essential oil UVCB - Whole substance testing and constituent specific analytics yield biodegradation kinetics of mixture constituents

Mette Torsbjerg Møller, Heidi Birch, Karina Knudsmark Sjøholm, Rikke Høst Hammershøj, Karen Jenner, Philipp Mayer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Testing and assessing the persistency, bioaccumulative and toxic properties of UVCBs (substances of Unknown or Variable composition, Complex reaction products or Biological materials) pose major technical and analytical challenges. The main aim of this study was to combine whole substance biodegradation testing with constituent specific analytics for determining primary biodegradation kinetics of the main UVCB constituents. An additional aim was to link the primary biodegradation kinetics of the main constituents to the bioaccumulation potential and baseline toxicity potential of the UVCB. Two closed biodegradation experiments were conducted using similar test systems but different analyses. The model substance, cedarwood Virginia oil, was tested at a low concentration and wastewater treatment plant effluent served as inoculum. We used microvolume solvent spiking for a quantitative mass transfer of the UVCB, while avoiding that co-solvent degradation would lead to anaerobic conditions. The biodegradation of UVCB constituents was determined with automated solid-phase microextraction coupled to GC-MS/MS using targeted analysis for main constituents and non-targeted analysis for minor constituents and non-polar degradation products. Primary biodegradation kinetics of main constituents, accounting for 73% w/w of the mixture, were successfully determined with degradation rate constants ranging from 0.09 to 0.25 d−1. Minor constituents were also degraded and non-polar degradation products were not observed. Finally, the bioaccumulation potential and baseline toxicity potential of the mixture at test start were calculated and both parameters decreased then substantially. The strength of the new approach is the possibility of biodegradation testing of a whole UVCB at low concentration while generating constituent specific biodegradation kinetics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number130409
JournalChemosphere
Volume278
Number of pages10
ISSN0045-6535
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • UVCB substances
  • Biodegradation
  • Mixture constituents
  • Essential oils
  • GC-MS/MS
  • SPME

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