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Issue 6, 2009
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Photo-induced environmental depletion processes of β-blockers in river waters

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In order to improve the understanding of the fate and behaviour of pharmaceuticals in the environment there is a need to investigate in-stream depletion mechanisms, e.g. phototransformation of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in natural surface waters. In this study, abiotic and biotic degradation of selected β-blockers was measured simultaneously in non-sterilised and sterilised river waters and deionised water (DIW) under simulated sunlight (λ: 295–800 nm) and dark conditions, and at environmentally relevant concentrations, i.e. ppb levels. Results suggested that the overall degradation followed pseudo first order kinetics under the solar simulation conditions and was between two and ten times faster in river waters than in DIW. There was a significant correlation (p < 0.07) between dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and overall first order degradation rate constants for the tested β-blockers (n = 4–6), suggesting coloured DOC triplet-induced or reactive transient mediated oxidation mechanisms in river waters. Phototransformation was the main depletion mechanism for the β-blockers tested over a 2 to 7 day period. Slow hydrolysis was observed for metoprolol only. Loss due to biodegradation in river waters was not observed for propranolol but was found for metoprolol and atenolol at a very slow rate within the study period. However, biodegradation of metoprolol was accelerated under the light conditions, implying that photo-induced intermediates could be more easily biodegraded in river waters.

Graphical abstract: Photo-induced environmental depletion processes of β-blockers in river waters

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Supplementary files

Article information

10 Oct 2008
06 Mar 2009
First published
16 Mar 2009

Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2009,8, 768-777
Article type

Photo-induced environmental depletion processes of β-blockers in river waters

Q. Liu, R. I. Cumming and A. D. Sharpe, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2009, 8, 768
DOI: 10.1039/B817890A

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