Environmental science & technology

N-15 NMR study of the immobilization of 2,4- and 2,6-dinitrotoluene in aerobic compost.

PMID 18504994


Large-scale aerobic windrow composting has been used to bioremediate washout lagoon soils contaminated with the explosives TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) and RDX (hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine) at several sites within the United States. We previously used 15N NMR to investigate the reduction and binding of T15NT in aerobic bench-scale reactors simulating the conditions of windrow composting. These studies have been extended to 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4DNT) and 2,6-dinitrotoluene (2,6DNT), which, as impurities in TNT, are usually presentwherever soils have been contaminated with TNT. Liquid-state 15N NMR analyses of laboratory reactions between 4-methyl-3-nitroaniline-15N, the major monoamine reduction product of 2,4DNT, and the Elliot soil humic acid, both in the presence and absence of horseradish peroxidase, indicated that the amine underwent covalent binding with quinone and other carbonyl groups in the soil humic acid to form both heterocyclic and non-heterocyclic condensation products. Liquid-state 15N NMR analyses of the methanol extracts of 20 day aerobic bench-scale composts of 2,4-di-15N-nitrotoluene and 2,6-di-15N-nitrotoluene revealed the presence of nitrite and monoamine, but not diamine, reduction products, indicating the occurrence of both dioxygenase enzyme and reductive degradation pathways. Solid-state CP/MAS 15N NMR analyses of the whole composts, however, suggested that reduction to monoamines followed by covalent binding of the amines to organic matter was the predominant pathway.