Aromatic amines are known to undergo covalent binding with humic substances in the environment. Although previous studies have examined reaction conditions and proposed mechanisms, there has been no direct spectroscopic evidence for the covalent binding of the amines to the functional groups in humic substances. In order to further elucidate the reaction mechanisms, the Suwannee River and IHSS soil fulvic and humic acids were reacted with 15N-labeled aniline at pH 6 and analyzed using 15N NMR spectrometry. Aniline underwent nucleophilic addition reactions with the quinone and other carbonyl groups in the samples and became incorporated in the form of anilinohydroquinone, anilinoquinone, anilide, imine, and heterocyclic nitrogen, the latter comprising 50% or more of the bound amine. The anilide and anilinohydroquinone nitrogens were determined to be susceptible to chemical exchange by ammonia. In the case of Suwannee River fulvic acid, reaction under anoxic conditions and pretreatment with sodium borohydride or hydroxylamine prior to reaction under oxic conditions resulted in a decrease in the proportion of anilinohydroquinone nitrogen incorporated. The relative decrease in the incorporation of anilinohydroquinone nitrogen with respect to anilinoquinone nitrogen under anoxic conditions suggested that inter- or intramolecular redox reactions accompanied the nucleophilic addition reactions.
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Covalent binding of aniline to humic substances. 2. 15N NMR studies of nucleophilic addition reactions