Journal of hazardous materials

Effects of oil dispersants on photodegradation of pyrene in marine water.

PMID 25655421


This work investigated effects of a popular oil dispersant (Corexit EC9500A) on UV- or sunlight-mediated photodegradation of pyrene (a model polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) in seawater. The presence of 18 and 180mg/L of the dispersant increased the first-order photodegradation rate by 5.5% and 16.7%, respectively, and reduced or ceased pyrene volatilization. By combining individual first-order rate laws for volatilization and photodegradation, we proposed an integrated kinetic model that can adequately predict the overall dissipation of pyrene from seawater. Mechanistic studies indicated that superoxide radicals played a predominant role in pyrene photodegradation, and the dispersant enhanced formation of superoxide radicals. 1-Hydroxypyrene was the main intermediate regardless of the dispersant, suggesting that electrons were transferred from excited pyrene to oxygen. In the presence of 18mg/L of the dispersant, the photodegradation rate increased with increasing ionic strength and temperature, but decreased with increasing HA concentration, and remained independent of solution pH. The results are important in understanding roles of oil dispersants on environmental fate of persistent oil components in natural and engineered systems.