Environmental science & technology

Abiotic degradation of pentachloronitrobenzene by Fe(III): reactions on goethite and iron oxide nanoparticles.

PMID 15382864


Pentachloronitrobenzene is a fungicide that is degraded in anoxic soils and sediments through unknown processes that are often thought to be biologically mediated. The present research describes the kinetics for the abiotic reduction of this compound in aqueous Fe(II)/goethite systems at near-neutral pH values. The results provide evidence for a rate-affecting surface-association process rather than a direct (i.e., kinetically second-order) reaction with an adsorbed Fe(II) species. It is therefore likely that the iron oxide surface participates directly in the reaction. Furthermore, reduction is observed in the apparent presence of trace amounts of suspended iron oxide nanoparticles, formed in situ by the oxidation of Fe(II). Given that Fe(III) colloids and other nanoscale phases may occur in natural sediments, such abiotic reactions could significantly influence the environmental fate of nitroaromatic compounds.