Biodegradation of the ultraviolet (UV) filter benzophenone-3 (BP-3) was investigated in the laboratory to understand its behavior and fate under oxic and anoxic (nitrate, sulfate, and Fe [III]-reducing) conditions. Biodegradation experiments were conducted in microcosms with 10% of activated sludge and digested sludge under oxic and anoxic conditions, respectively. Benzophenone-3 was well degraded by microorganisms under each redox condition. Under the redox conditions studied, the biodegradation half-life for BP-3 had the following order: oxic (10.7 d) > nitrate-reducing (8.7 d) > Fe (III)-reducing (5.1 d) > sulfate-reducing (4.3 d) ≥ anoxic unamended (4.2 d). The results suggest that anaerobic biodegradation is a more favorable attenuation mechanism for BP-3. Biodegradation of BP-3 produced two products, 4-cresol and 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone, under oxic and anoxic conditions. Biotransformation of BP-3 to 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone by way of demethylation of the methoxy substituent (O-demethylation) occurred in cultures under each redox condition. The further biotransformation of 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone to 4-cresol was inhibited under oxic, nitrate-reducing, and sulfate-reducing conditions. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:289–295. © 2011 SETAC
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