Advances in analytical methods have lead to the identification of several classes of organic chemicals that are associated with adverse environmental impacts. Two such classes of organic chemicals, gasoline oxygenates and sex hormones, will be used to illustrate challenges associated
with the biodegradation of trace organic contaminants. Gasoline oxygenates can be present in groundwater, alone or commingled with BTEX at appreciable concentrations. However, target treated water standards dictate that gasoline oxygenates be reduced to the microgram per liter range prior
to consumption. Sex hormones, on the other hand, are present in wastewater matrixes in the part per trillion concentration range and the biggest challenge that needs to be met, prior to optimizing their removal, is facilitating their detection.
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