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Occurrence of a nitro metabolite of a defined nonylphenol isomer in soil/sewage sludge mixtures

: Telscher, M.; Schuller, U.; Schmidt, B.; Schäffer, A.


Environmental science and technology 39 (2005), No.20, pp.7896-7900
ISSN: 0013-936X
EISSN: 1520-5851
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Uniformly [C-14]-ring-labeled 4-(3,5-dimethyl-3-heptyl)phenol (353-nonylphenol) is a highly relevant isomer of the technical nonylphenol mixture. We studied the sorption, desorption, and degradation of the synthesized isomer in an agricultural sandy loam at various soil/sewage sludge ratios. Sorption of 353-nonylphenol was high and differed with the amount of suspended soil in water. log K-oc values, which are used to assess the risk of nonylphenol, ranged from 3.80 to 5.75. Desorption was slow and low and resulted in constant concentrations of about 15 ng/L 353-nonylphenol in water after several desorption steps. In degradation studies up to 6% of the applied 353-nonylphenol in soil was volatilized; we consider this an important source of nonylphenol in the environment. With increasing amounts of sewage sludge in the soil/sewage sludge mixtures, 353-nonylphenol was stabilized, probably because of the lack of oxygen in sludge aggregates even under oxic conditions in flow-through systems. Unexpectedly, a less-polar metabolite was detected in amounts up to 40% of the applied nonylphenol after 135 days of incubation. This novel metabolite was identified as 4-(3,5-dimethyl-3-heptyl)2-nitrophenol. This product formation might indicate the existence of novel metabolic pathways of nonylphenol in the environment.