Experimental evidence for in situ natural attenuation of 2,4- and 2,6-dinitrotoluene in marine sediment.

PMID 17765284


Dinitrotoluenes (DNTs) are widely used in the manufacturing of explosives and propellants hence causing contamination of several terrestrial and aquatic environments. The present study describes biotransformation of 2,4-DNT and 2,6-DNT in marine sediment sampled from a shipwreck site near Halifax Harbour. Incubation of either 2,4-DNT or 2,6-DNT in anaerobic sediment slurries (10% w/v) at 10 degrees C led to the reduction of both DNTs to their corresponding diaminotoluene (2,4-DAT and 2,6-DAT) via the intermediary formation of their monoamine derivatives (ANTs). The production of diaminotoluene was enhanced in the presence of lactate for both DNT isomers. Using [(14)C]-2,4-DNT less than 1% mineralization was observed as determined by liberated (14)CO(2). Sorption of DNTs, ANTs, and DATs was thus investigated to learn of their fate in marine sediments. Under anaerobic conditions, sorption followed the order: DNTs (K(d)=8.3-11.7lkg(-1))>ANTs (K(d)=4.5-7.0lkg(-1))>DATs (K(d)=3.8-4.5lkg(-1)). Incubation of 2,4-DAT in aerobic sediment led to rapid disappearance from the aqueous phase. LC/MS analysis of the aqueous phase and the acetone sediment extract showed the formation of azo- and hydrazo-dimers and trimers, as well as unidentified polymers. Experiments with radiolabelled 2,4-DAT showed a mass balance distributed as follows: 22% in the aqueous phase, 24% in acetone extracts, and 50% irreversibly bound to sediment. We concluded that DNT in anoxic marine sediment can undergo in situ natural attenuation by reduction to DAT followed by oxidative coupling to hydrazo-oligomers or irreversible binding to sediment.