Waste management & research : the journal of the International Solid Wastes and Public Cleansing Association, ISWA

Transformation of methyltin chlorides and stannic chloride under simulated landfill conditions.

PMID 21382878


There is increasing concern regarding the fate of methyltins in the environment, particularly since large amounts of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics are deposited in landfills. The potential transformation of methyltin chlorides and stannic chloride in landfills was investigated, by incubating the target substances at concentrations relevant to landfill conditions (100 and 500 µg Sn L(-1)). The amounts of methane formed in all treatment bottles, and controls, were measured to evaluate the general microbial activity of the inocula and possible effects of methyltins on the degradation of organic matter. The methyltins and stannic chloride were found to have no significant inhibitory effects on the activity of landfill micro-organisms, and the methanol used to disperse the tin compounds was completely degraded. In some experimental bottles, the methanol degradation gave rise to larger methane yields than expected, which was attributed to enhanced degradation of the waste material. Alkyltin analyses showed that monomethyltin trichloride at an initial concentration of 500 µg Sn L(-1) promoted methylation of inorganic tin present in the inoculum. No methylation activities were detected in the incubations with 100 µg Sn L(-1) methyltin chlorides (mono-, di- or tri-methyltin), but demethylation occurred instead. Levels of soluble inorganic tin increased during the incubation period, due partly to demethylation and partly to a release of tin from the waste inocula.