The fate of the three environmentally relevant β-blockers atenolol, metoprolol and propranolol has been studied in batch experiments involving aquifer material and nitrate reducing conditions. Results from the about 90 d long tests indicate that abiotic processes, most likely sorption, jointly with biotransformation to atenololic acid were responsible for the 65% overall removal observed for atenolol. Zero order kinetics, typical of enzyme-limited reactions, controlled the transformation of this beta blocker to its corresponding carboxylic acid. The mass balance evidences that no mineralization of atenolol occurs in the biotic experiment and that atenololic acid is more stable than its parent compound under the studied conditions. This finding stresses the importance of considering atenololic acid as target compound in the environmental studies on the fate of atenolol. For metoprolol and propranolol the results from the experiment suggest a slower sorption to be the dominant removal process, which led to final decreases in concentrations of 25–30% and 40–45%, respectively. Overall, the removals observed in the experiments suggest that subsurface processes potentially constitute an alternative water treatment for the target beta-blockers, when compared to the removals reported for conventional wastewater treatment plants

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Published on 01/01/2012

DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.05.019
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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