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Mineral identity, natural organic matter, and repeated contaminant exposures do not affect the carbon and nitrogen isotope fractionation of 2,4-dinitroanisole during abiotic reduction

Berens, Matthew J., Ulrich, Bridget A., Strehlau, Jennifer H., Hofstetter, Thomas B., Arnold, William A.
Environmental science 2019 v.21 no.1 pp. 51-62
carbon, enzymatic hydrolysis, explosives, iron, isotope fractionation, monitoring, nitroaromatic compounds, nitrogen, organic matter, remediation, stable isotopes
The recent development of insensitive munitions, such as 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN), as components of military explosives has generated concern for potential subsurface contamination and created a need to fully characterize their transformation processes. Compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA) has proven to be a useful means of assessing transformation pathways according to characteristic stable isotope fractionation patterns. The C and N isotope fractionation of DNAN associated with abiotic and enzymatic hydrolysis was recently assessed. The extent to which DNAN isotope fractionation will be affected by other potentially competing transformation pathways known for nitroaromatic compounds (e.g., reduction) and if previous knowledge can be extrapolated to other environmental matrices remains to be understood. Here, we investigated the C and N isotope fractionation and reaction rate constants of DNAN during abiotic reduction mediated by mineral-associated Fe(ii) species as a function of mineral type, natural organic matter presence, and repeated exposures to DNAN. Though rate constants varied, N and C apparent kinetic isotope effects (AKIEs) remained consistent across all experiments (averaged values of ¹⁵N-AKIE = 1.0317 ± 0.0064 and ¹³C-AKIE = 1.0008 ± 0.0005) and revealed significant ¹⁵N- and minimal ¹³C-enrichment in agreement with previous work on nitroaromatic compounds. Moreover, the observed fractionation was clearly distinct from trends for abiotic and enzymatic hydrolysis. This study provides a strengthened basis for the use of CSIA as a robust tool for monitoring DNAN degradation in complex environmental matrices as a component of future remediation efforts.