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Potential for 4-n-nonylphenol biodegradation in stream sediments

January 1, 2008

The potential for in situ biodegradation of 4-nonylphenol (4-NP) was investigated in three hydrologically distinct streams impacted by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in the United States. Microcosms were prepared with sediments from each site and amended with [U-ring-14C]4-n-nonylphenol (4-n-NP) as a model test substrate. Microcosms prepared with sediment collected upstream of the WWTP outfalls and incubated under oxic conditions showed rapid and complete mineralization of [U-ring-14C]4- n-NP to 14CO2 in all three systems. In contrast, no mineralization of [U-ring-14C]4-n-NP was observed in these sediments under anoxic (methanogenic) conditions. The initial linear rate of [U-ring-14C]4-n-NP mineralization in sediments from upstream and downstream of the respective WWTP outfalls was inversely correlated with the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of the streambed sediments. These results suggest that the net supply of dissolved oxygen to streambed sediments is a key determinant of the rate and extent of 4-NP biodegradation in stream systems. In the stream systems considered by the present study, dissolved oxygen concentrations in the overlying water column (8–10 mg/L) and in the bed sediment pore water (1–3 mg/L at a depth of 10 cm below the sediment–water interface) were consistent with active in situ 4-NP biodegradation. These results suggest WWTP procedures that maximize the delivery of dissolved oxygen while minimizing the release of BOD to stream receptors favor efficient biodegradation of 4-NP contaminants in wastewater-impacted stream environments.

Publication Year 2008
Title Potential for 4-n-nonylphenol biodegradation in stream sediments
DOI 10.1897/07-333R.1
Authors P. M. Bradley, L. B. Barber, D.W. Kolpin, P. B. McMahon, F. H. Chapelle
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Index ID 70033386
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Colorado Water Science Center; Iowa Water Science Center; Toxic Substances Hydrology Program