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Biotransformation of Nitrosamines and Secondary Amines in a Mixed Methanogenic Culture

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A mixed, methanogenic culture, developed with inoculum obtained from a mesophilic (35°C), municipal anaerobic digester was amended with six nitrosamines, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), N-nitrosomethylethylamine (NMEA), N-nitrosopyrrolidine (NPYR), Nnitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), N-nitrosodi-n-propylamine (NDPA), and N-nitrosodi-nbutylamine (NDBA), and their corresponding secondary amine precursors. During the batch assay, NDMA, NMEA, and NPYR were degraded by 70 – 100 %. However, the observed decrease in the NDEA, NDPA and NDBA concentration was statistically insignificant. The biotransformation rates of the secondary amines were greater than those of the corresponding nitrosamines, and the lower molecular weight compounds showed a higher biotransformation potential. Nitrosamine biodegradation was found to be the result of cometabolism. Moreover, the nitrosamine biotransformation pathway may involve reduction of the nitroso group and subsequent N-N cleavage, leading to the formation of secondary amines which are highly biodegradable under anaerobic conditions. The results of this study can contribute significantly to the development of new strategies for nitrosamine removal during municipal wastewater treatment.

Keywords: Nitrosamines; anaerobic digester; biotransformation; cometabolism; methanogens; secondary amines; wastewater treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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