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J Hazard Mater. 2012 Jan 30;201-202:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2011.10.061. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

Photosensitized degradation of 2,4',5-trichlorobiphenyl (PCB 31) by dissolved organic matter.

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College of Environmental & Resource Sciences of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, People's Republic of China.


The presence of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in aquatic system has an important influence on the phototransformation of organic contaminants through the production of reactive substances, such as hydroxyl radicals (OH), singlet oxygen ((1)O(2)), and DOM triplet states ((3)DOM) under solar irradiation. Addition of 5mg/L of Humic acid sodium (HA), Suwannee River NOM (SRNOM) and Nordic Reservoir NOM (NRNOM) all accelerated the photodegradation of 2,4',5-trichlorobiphenyl (PCB 31) significantly, with a pseudo-first-order rate constant of 0.0933, 0.0651 and 0.0486 in the initial 12h, respectively. HA and SRNOM, the allochthonous DOM, showed higher reactivity in the photolysis of PCB 31. The maximum photodegradation rate was observed in 5mg/L of DOM solution. The roles of the reactive substances were studied by the inhibitory experiments, which suggested that OH and intra-DOM (1)O(2) were more important for the photolysis of PCB 31 than other reactive substances, accounting for 35.1% and 47.1% of the degradation, respectively. The main degradation products of PCB 31 detected by GC-MS were 4-chlorobenzoic acid, 2,5-dichlorobenzoic acid, hydroxy-2,5-dichlorobenzoic acid, 4-hydroxy-2',5'-dichlorobiphenyls and hydroxy-trichlorobiphenyls. The degradation pathways were accordingly proposed. Photosensitized degradation by DOM, especially the intra-DOM reactions, may be a very important mechanism for the transformation of PCBs and other hydrophobic organic contaminants in the environment.

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