Biodegradation testing of hydrophobic chemicals in mixtures at low concentrations – covering the chemical space of petroleum hydrocarbons

Heidi Birch, Rikke Høst Hammershøj, Philipp Mayer

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Abstract

Petroleum products are complex mixtures of varying composition containing thousands of hydrocarbons each with their own physicochemical properties and degradation kinetics. One approach for risk assessment of these products is therefore to group the hydrocarbons by carbon number and chemical class i.e. hydrocarbon blocks. However, the biodegradation kinetic data varies in quantity and quality for the different hydrocarbon blocks, hampering the characterization of their fate properties. In this study, biodegradation kinetics of a large number of hydrocarbons aiming to cover the chemical space of petroleum hydrocarbons, were therefore determined at ng/L to µg/L concentrations in surface water, seawater and activated sludge filtrate. Two hydrocarbon mixtures were prepared, comprising a total of 53 chemicals including paraffins, naphthenics and aromatic hydrocarbons from C8 to C20. Passive dosing from silicone rod loaded with the mixtures was used to prepare stock solutions. Test systems were then prepared using stock solution diluted with the surface water, seawater or activated sludge filtrate. Test systems were incubated at 20 °C on a roller for up to 98 days and analyzed using GC-MS and fully automated Solid Phase Micro Extraction. Results were normalized to parallel measurements of abiotic controls prior to evaluation of biodegradation kinetics. Degradation was generally faster in the activated sludge filtrate than in the seawater and lakewater. In the activated sludge filtrate lag phases were < 9 days for the 49 hydrocarbons that were degraded within test duration. Degradation rate constants and corresponding half-lives were determined for 44 of the hydrocabons. In lakewater and seawater, less test chemicals were degraded within the test duration compared to the activated sludge filtrate.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventSETAC Europe: 27th Annual Meeting – Environmental Quality Through Transdisciplinary Collaboration - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 7 May 201713 Jul 2017

Conference

ConferenceSETAC Europe: 27th Annual Meeting – Environmental Quality Through Transdisciplinary Collaboration
CountryBelgium
CityBrussels
Period07/05/201713/07/2017

Keywords

  • Biodegradation
  • Degradation
  • Partitioning
  • Surface water

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