Main content area

Dissolved organic matter and estrogen interactions regulate estrogen removal in the aqueous environment: A review

Ma, Li, Yates, Scott R.
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.640-641 pp. 529-542
binding capacity, biodegradation, carbon, dissolved organic matter, estrogens, hydrogen bonding, hydrophobicity, moieties, nutritional status, particulates, photolysis, photosensitizing agents, sediments, soil, sorbents, sorption, surface area
This review summarizes the characterization and quantification of interactions between dissolved organic matter (DOM) and estrogens as well as the effects of DOM on aquatic estrogen removal. DOM interacts with estrogens via binding or sorption mechanisms like π-π interaction and hydrogen bonding. The binding affinity is evaluated in terms of organic-carbon-normalized sorption coefficient (Log KOC) which varies with types and composition of DOM. DOM has been suggested to be a more efficient sorbent compared with other matrices, such as suspended particulate matter, sediment and soil; likely associated with its large surface area and concentrated carbon content. As a photosensitizer, DOM enhanced estrogen photodegradation when the concentration of DOM was below a threshold value, and when above, the acceleration effect was not observed. DOM played a dual role in affecting biodegradation of estrogens depending on the recalcitrance of the DOM and the nutrition status of the degraders. DOM also acted as an electron shuttle (redox mediator) mediating the degradation of estrogens. DOM hindered enzyme-catalyzed removal of estrogens while enhanced their transformation during the simultaneous photo-enzymatic process. Membrane rejection of estrogens was pronounced for hydrophobic DOM with high aromaticity and phenolic moiety content. Elimination of estrogens via photolysis, biodegradation, enzymolysis and membrane rejection in the presence of DOM is initiated by sorption, accentuating the role of DOM as a mediator in regulating aquatic estrogen removal.