Environmental science & technology

Transformation and removal of tetrabromobisphenol A from water in the presence of natural organic matter via laccase-catalyzed reactions: reaction rates, products, and pathways.

PMID 23256593


The widespread occurrence of the brominated flame retardant tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) makes it a possible source of concern. Our experiments suggest that TBBPA can be effectively transformed by the naturally occurring laccase enzyme from Trametes versicolor. These reactions follow second-order kinetics, whereby apparent removal rate is a function of both substrate and enzyme concentrations. For reactions at different initial concentrations and with or without natural organic matter (NOM), reaction products are identified using liquid or gas chromatography with mass spectrometry. Detailed reaction pathways are proposed. It is postulated that two TBBPA radicals resulting from a laccase-mediated reaction are coupled together via interaction of an oxygen atom on one radical and a propyl-substituted aromatic carbon atom on the other. A 2,6-dibromo-4-isopropylphenol carbocation is then eliminated from the radical dimer. All but one of the detected products arise from either substitution or proton elimination of the 2,6-dibromo-4-isopropylphenol carbocation. Three additional products are identified for reactions in the presence of NOM, which suggests that reaction occurs between NOM and TBBPA radical. Data from acute immobilization tests with Daphnia confirm that TBBPA toxicity is effectively eliminated by laccase-catalyzed TBBPA removal. These findings are useful for understanding laccase-mediated TBBPA reactions and could eventually lead to development of novel methods to control TBBPA contamination.