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Aqueous photochemical degradation of hydroxylated PAHs: Kinetics, pathways, and multivariate effects of main water constituents

Ge, Linke, Na, Guangshui, Chen, Chang-Er, Li, Jun, Ju, Maowei, Wang, Ying, Li, Kai, Zhang, Peng, Yao, Ziwei
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.547 pp. 166-172
Vibrio fischeri, aquatic environment, chlorides, dehydrogenation, half life, humic acids, hydroxylation, iron, irradiation, isomerization, latitude, nitrates, photolysis, photooxidation, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, risk, seawater, solar radiation, surface water, toxicity
Hydroxylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (OH-PAHs) are contaminants of emerging concern in the aquatic environment, so it is of great significance to understand their environmental transformation and toxicity. This study investigated the aqueous photochemical behavior of four OH-PAHs, 9-Hydroxyfluorene (9-OHFL), 2-Hydroxyfluorene, 9-Hydroxyphenanthrene and 1-Hydroxypyrene, under simulated sunlight irradiation (λ>290nm). It was observed that their photodegradation followed the pseudo-first-order kinetics. Based on the determined quantum yields, their calculated solar apparent photodegradation half-lives in surface waters at 45° N latitude ranged from 0.4min for 9-Hydroxyphenanthrene to 7.5×103min for 9-OHFL, indicating that the OH-PAHs would intrinsically photodegrade fast in sunlit surface waters. Furthermore, 9-OHFL as an example was found to undergo direct photolysis, and self-sensitized photooxidation via OH rather than 1O2 in pure water. The potential photoreactions involved photoinduced hydroxylation, dehydrogenation and isomerization based on product identification by GC–MS/MS. 9-OHFL photodegraded slower in natural waters than in pure water, which was attributed to the integrative effects of the most photoreactive species, such as Fe(III), NO3−, Cl− and humic acid. The photomodified toxicity was further examined using Vibrio fischeri, and it was found that the toxicity of photolyzed 9-OHFL did not decrease significantly (p>0.05) either in pure water or in seawater, implying the comparable or higher toxicity of some intermediates. These results are important for assessing the fate and risks of OH-PAHs in surface waters.