13C and 15N NMR identification of product compound classes from aqueous and solid phase photodegradation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene




Abstract Photolysis is one of the main transformation pathways for 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) released into the environment. Upon exposure to sunlight, TNT is known to undergo both oxidation and reduction reactions with release of nitrite, nitrate, and ammonium ions, followed by condensation reactions of the oxidation and reduction products. In this study, compound classes of transformation products from the aqueous and solid phase photodegradation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) have been identified by liquid and solid state 13C and 15N NMR. Aqueous phase experiments were performed on saturated solutions of T15NT in deionized water, natural pond water (pH = 8.3, DOC = 3.0 mg/L), pH 8.0 buffer solution, and in the presence of Suwannee River Natural Organic Matter (SRNOM; pH = 3.7), using a Pyrex-filtered medium pressure mercury lamp. Natural sunlight irradiations were performed on TNT in the solid phase and dissolved in the pond water. In deionized water, carboxylic acid, aldehyde, aromatic amine, primary amide, azoxy, nitrosophenol, and azo compounds were formed. 15N NMR spectra exhibited major peaks centered at 128 to 138 ppm, which are in the range of phenylhydroxylamine and secondary amide nitrogens. The secondary amides are proposed to represent benzanilides, which would arise from photochemical rearrangement of nitrones formed from the condensation of benzaldehyde and phenylhydroxylamine derivatives of TNT. The same compound classes were formed from sunlight irradiation of TNT in the solid phase. Whereas carboxylic acids, aldehydes, aromatic amines, phenylhydroxylamines, and amides were also formed from irradiation of TNT in pond water and in pH 8 buffer solution, azoxy and azo compound formation was inhibited. Solid state 15N NMR spectra of photolysates from the lamp irradiation of unlabeled 2,6-dinitrotoluene in deionized water also demonstrated the formation of aromatic amine, phenylhydroxylamine/ 2° amide, azoxy, and azo nitrogens.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title 13C and 15N NMR identification of product compound classes from aqueous and solid phase photodegradation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene
Series title PLoS ONE
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0224112
Volume 14
Issue 10
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher PLoS One
Contributing office(s) WMA - Earth System Processes Division
Description 61 p.
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