Environmental science and pollution research international

Laboratory and field evidence of the photonitration of 4-chlorophenol to 2-nitro-4-chlorophenol and of the associated bicarbonate effect.

PMID 19936815


Photochemical processes can decontaminate the aqueous environment from xenobiotics, but they also produce secondary pollutants. This paper presents field and laboratory evidence of the transformation of 4-chlorophenol (4CP) into 2-nitro-4-chlorophenol (2N4CP). Field monitoring of 4CP and 2N4CP was carried out by solid phase extraction coupled with liquid chromatography-multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry. Laboratory irradiation experiments were carried out under a UV-Vis lamp, and the time evolution of the compounds of interest was followed by liquid chromatography. The purpose of this study was elucidating the pathways leading to 2N4CP from 4CP in paddy field water. The field monitoring results suggest that 4CP can be transformed into 2N4CP in the paddy field water of the Rhône delta (Southern France). The laboratory study indicates that the transformation can take place via photonitration by (*)NO(2). The nitration process is inhibited by bicarbonate, possibly due to basification that favours the occurrence of the 4-chlorophenolate. The latter could consume (*)NO(2) without being nitrated. Photonitration in the presence of bicarbonate could account for the observed transformation in the field. Photonitration of 4CP to 2N4CP by (*)NO(2) could account for the observed interconversion of the two compounds in paddy fields. The results are of concern because 2N4CP is biorecalcitrant and toxic. Bicarbonate can modulate the photonitration of 4CP into 2N4CP, which can be very significant in bicarbonate-poor waters.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

4-Chloro-2-nitrophenol, ≥97.0%