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Quinoline and derivatives at a tar oil contaminated site: Hydroxylated products as indicator for natural attenuation?

: Reineke, A.-K.; Göen, T.; Preiss, A.; Hollender, J.


Environmental science and technology 41 (2007), No.15, pp.5314-5322
ISSN: 0013-936X
EISSN: 1520-5851
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ITEM ()
Quinoline; soil; tar; biodegradation; environmental; Biotransformation; Hydroxylation; Isoquinolines; oxidation-reduction; water pollutant; organic compound; acid; fatty; groundwater

LC-MS-MS analysis of groundwater of a tar oil contaminated site showed the occurrence of the N-heterocycles quinoline and isoquinoline as well as their hydroxylated and hydrogenated metabolites. The concentrations of the hydroxylated compounds, 2(1H)-quinolinone and 1(2H)-isoquinolinone, were significantly higher than those of the nonsubstituted parent compounds. Therefore, exclusive quantification of the parent compounds leads to an underestimation of the amount of N-heterocycles present in the groundwater. Microbial degradation experiments of quinoline and isoquinoline with aquifer material of the site as inocculum showed the formation of hydroxylated and hydrogenated products under sulfate-reducing conditions, the prevailing conditions in the field. However, since analyses of seven tar products showed that these compounds are also primary constituents, their detection in groundwater is found to be a nonsufficient indicator for the occurrence of biological natural attenuation processes. Instead, the ratio of hydroxylated to parent compound (R-metabolite) is proposed as a useful indicator. We found that 65-83% of all groundwater samples showed R-metabolite for 2(1H)-quinolinone, 1(2H)-isoquinolinone, 3,4-dihydro-2(1H)-quinolinone, and 3,4-dihydro-1(2H)-isoquinolinone, which was higher than the highest ratio found in tar products. With respect to the observed partition coefficient between tar oil and water of 3.5 for quinoline and isoquinoline and 0.3 for 2(1H)-quinolinone and 1(2H)-isoquinolinone, the ratio in groundwater would be approximately 10 times higher than the ratio in tar oil. When paying attention to these two parameters, 19-31% of groundwater samples exceed the highest tar oil ratio. This indicates that biological processes take place in the aquifer of the site and R-metabolite is an applicable indicator for natural attenuation.