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Chemosphere

Mixtures of quaternary ammonium compounds and anionic organic compounds in the aquatic environment: Elimination and biodegradability in the closed bottle test monitored by LC-MS/MS.


PMID 18439651

Abstract

Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are widely used as disinfectants, detergents and fabric softeners. Anionic detergents are one of the most widely used chemical substances. QACs and anionic surfactants can form ionic pairs. In the present study we investigated the biodegradability of QACs in the presence of different anionic surfactants. The biodegradability of three QACs, namely benzalkonium chloride (BAC), didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDMAC) and ethacridine lactate (EL), when applied as single substances and in combination with anionic surfactants such as benzene sulfonic acid (BSA), LAS, naphthalene sulfonic acid (NSA) and sodium dodecylsulfonate (SDS) was studied applying the closed bottle test (CBT) [OECD 301D, 1992. Guidelines for Testing of Chemicals. Closed bottle test. Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris] at a ratio of 1:1 (mol:mol). Biodegradation was monitored by measuring oxygen concentration in the test vessels with an oxygen electrode in accordance with international standard methods [ISO 5414, 1990. Water quality - determination of dissolved oxygen. In: German Standard Methods for the Examination of Water, Wastewater and Sludge. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim, New York, Basel Cambridge]. Primary elimination of the QACs and of LAS was monitored by LC-MS/MS. There was little biodegradability of the QACs as either single compounds or in the presence of organic counter ions. The biodegradability of the organic counter ions was lower in the presence of QACs as compared to the single substances. Primary elimination of the QACs by sorption took place.

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