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The Effect of Chlorination on Organocyanide Compounds

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Results are presented that explore the possibility of organocyanide compounds in wastewater contributing to elevated cyanide levels in the chlorinated effluents of publicly owned treatment works. Four model compounds, acetonitrile, amygdalin, cyanocobalamin, and 2-acetoxy-3-butenenitrile, were selected and tested with varying chlorine dosages for release of cyanide by total and diffusible cyanide procedures. The coenzyme form of vitamin B12, which does not contain cyanide, was also tested. It was found that acetonitrile and amygdalin do not yield cyanide with or without chlorination, cyanocobalamin had increased release with increased chlorine dosages, and 2-acetoxy-3-butenenitrile had generally decreased release of cyanide with increased chlorine dosages. Both cyanocobalamin and coenzyme vitamin B12 gave evidence of the formation of the cobalt–cyanide complex after chlorination, even though the molecular structure of the coenzyme vitamin B12 contains no cyanide.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research� (WER�) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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