Bioavailability of a nonylphenol isomer in dependence on the association to dissolved humic substances
Humic substances are important environmental components since they represent a very large part of organic compounds on earth. According to many reports, dissolved humic substances are a determinant parameter for the bioavailability of xenobiotic compounds. For the present bioavailability studies, two kinds of dissolved humic substances, a commercially available humic acid and fulvic acids isolated from peat were used. As the relevant xenobiotic, a defined branched nonylphenol isomer, 4(3',5'-dimethyl-3'-heptyl)-phenol (p353NP) was synthesised according to Friedel-Crafts alkylation. Equilibrium dialysis studies were implemented in order to investigate the association between 14C-labelled p353NP and dissolved humic substances. The biodegradability in the presence of dissolved humic substances was examined in experiments with the nonylphenol degrading bacterium strain Sphingomonas TTNP3 and with p353NP as sole carbon source. The results showed that p353NP-humic acid associates were formed in high amounts, whereas no adducts with fulvic acids occurred. In the degradation studies with Sphingomonas TTNP3, no effects of dissolved humic substances on the bioavailability of p353NP could be observed It was assumed that the association between nonylphenol and hmic acids occurs rapidly and is reversible. Thus, the formation of ""labile"" complexes did not influence biodegradation rates, which were quite low.