In this paper, the aerobic biodegradation behavior of nonylphenol polyethoxylates (NPnEOs) with ethoxy (EO) units of specific lengths, which were fractionated using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with photodiode array detection, was studied in the presence of different types of organic materials. NPnEOs and their related metabolites under a modified OECD 301E biodegradation test were monitored using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Biodegradation tests in the presence of organic matters, such as methanol, glucose, and yeast extract, showed the formation of the corresponding nonylphenol polyethoxy carboxylates by the oxidation of the terminal alcoholic group. However, aerobic biodegradation tests without organic matter revealed that NP2EO and NP3EO were predominant metabolites of the long-chain-oligomer precursor system which undergo fast and complete shortening. Degradation rates were higher for the long-chain oligomers than for shorter ones. The degradation pathway of NPnEOs was greatly influenced by the presence or absence of organic matter. Organic materials such as those given above apparently play a significant role in the formation of the carboxylated metabolites of NPnEOs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry