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Open Access Reductive Transformations of Anthropogenic Chemicals in Natural and Technical Systems

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Reductive transformation reactions of chemical pollutants (e.g., polyhalogenated hydrocarbons, aromatic azo and nitro compounds, chromium(VI) species) in the environment are important both from an ecotoxicological and from an environmental technology point of view. Using well-defined model reactors as well as more complex 'real world' systems, several groups at EAWAG are trying to unravel compound- and system-specific factors that control the reduction of a variety of anthropogenic chemicals under different conditions in the environment. The examples presented in this article include the reduction of nitroaromatic compounds under iron- and sulfate-reducing conditions, the reductive dehalogenation of chlorinated ethenes by cob(I)alamin and by a bacterium that uses such compounds as terminal electron acceptors, and the reduction of chromium(VI) by various reduced iron species. The link between microbial and abiotic (chemical) processes involved in reductive transformations of pollutants is emphasized. The major goal of this article is to illustrate the approaches taken to elucidate the mechanisms and kinetics of environmentally relevant reduction reactions of pollutants, and to discuss how the results of such studies can be used 1) to gain insight into what is actually happening in the environment, and 2) to develop methods for the treatment of chemical wastes or contaminated sites.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1997

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  • International Journal for Chemistry and Official Membership Journal of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and its Divisions

    CHIMIA, a scientific journal for chemistry in the broadest sense, is published 10 times a year and covers the interests of a wide and diverse readership. Contributions from all fields of chemistry and related areas are considered for publication in the form of Review Articles and Notes. A characteristic feature of CHIMIA are the thematic issues, each devoted to an area of great current significance.

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