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Do biotransformation data from laboratory experiments reflect micropollutant degradation in a large river basin?


Seller, Carolin; Varga, Laura; Börgardts, Elizabeth; Vogler, Bernadette; Janssen, Elisabeth; Singer, Heinz; Fenner, Kathrin; Honti, Mark (2023). Do biotransformation data from laboratory experiments reflect micropollutant degradation in a large river basin? Water research, 235:119908.

Abstract

Identifying a chemical's potential for biotransformation in the aquatic environment is crucial to predict its fate and manage its potential hazards. Due to the complexity of natural water bodies, especially river networks, biotransformation is often studied in laboratory experiments, assuming that study outcomes can be extrapolated to compound behavior in the field. Here, we investigated to what extent outcomes of laboratory simulation studies indeed reflect biotransformation kinetics observed in riverine systems. To determine in-field biotransformation, we measured loads of 27 wastewater treatment plant effluent-borne compounds along the Rhine and its major tributaries during two seasons. Up to 21 compounds were detected at each sampling location. Measured compound loads were used in an inverse model framework of the Rhine river basin to derive k’bio,field values – a compound-specific parameter describing the compounds’ average biotransformation potential during the field studies. To support model calibration, we performed phototransformation and sorption experiments with all the study compounds, identifying 5 compounds that are susceptible towards direct phototransformation and determining Koc values covering four orders of magnitude. On the laboratory side, we used a similar inverse model framework to derive k’bio,lab values from water-sediment experiments run according to a modified OECD 308-type protocol. The comparison of k’bio,lab and k’bio,field revealed that their absolute values differed, pointing towards faster transformation in the Rhine river basin. Yet, we could demonstrate that relative rankings of biotransformation potential and groups of compounds with low, moderate and high persistence agree reasonably well between laboratory and field outcomes. Overall, our results provide evidence that laboratory-based biotransformation studies using the modified OECD 308 protocol and k’bio values derived thereof bear considerable potential to reflect biotransformation of micropollutants in one of the largest European river basins.

Abstract

Identifying a chemical's potential for biotransformation in the aquatic environment is crucial to predict its fate and manage its potential hazards. Due to the complexity of natural water bodies, especially river networks, biotransformation is often studied in laboratory experiments, assuming that study outcomes can be extrapolated to compound behavior in the field. Here, we investigated to what extent outcomes of laboratory simulation studies indeed reflect biotransformation kinetics observed in riverine systems. To determine in-field biotransformation, we measured loads of 27 wastewater treatment plant effluent-borne compounds along the Rhine and its major tributaries during two seasons. Up to 21 compounds were detected at each sampling location. Measured compound loads were used in an inverse model framework of the Rhine river basin to derive k’bio,field values – a compound-specific parameter describing the compounds’ average biotransformation potential during the field studies. To support model calibration, we performed phototransformation and sorption experiments with all the study compounds, identifying 5 compounds that are susceptible towards direct phototransformation and determining Koc values covering four orders of magnitude. On the laboratory side, we used a similar inverse model framework to derive k’bio,lab values from water-sediment experiments run according to a modified OECD 308-type protocol. The comparison of k’bio,lab and k’bio,field revealed that their absolute values differed, pointing towards faster transformation in the Rhine river basin. Yet, we could demonstrate that relative rankings of biotransformation potential and groups of compounds with low, moderate and high persistence agree reasonably well between laboratory and field outcomes. Overall, our results provide evidence that laboratory-based biotransformation studies using the modified OECD 308 protocol and k’bio values derived thereof bear considerable potential to reflect biotransformation of micropollutants in one of the largest European river basins.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Environmental Engineering
Physical Sciences > Civil and Structural Engineering
Physical Sciences > Ecological Modeling
Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Physical Sciences > Waste Management and Disposal
Physical Sciences > Pollution
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pollution, Waste Management and Disposal, Water Science and Technology, Ecological Modeling, Environmental Engineering, Civil and Structural Engineering
Language:English
Date:1 May 2023
Deposited On:23 Feb 2024 08:45
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 03:34
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0043-1354
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2023.119908
PubMed ID:37003113
Project Information:
  • : FunderUmweltbundesamt
  • : Grant IDFKZ 3717 65 409 0
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)