Degradation of 4-nonylphenol, 4-t-octylphenol, bisphenol A and triclosan following biosolids addition to soil under laboratory conditions

K. A. Langdon, M. S J Warne, R. J. Smernik, A. Shareef, R. S. Kookana

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41 Citations (Scopus)
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Land application of biosolids is common practice in many countries, however, there are some potential risks associated with the presence of contaminants within the biosolids. This laboratory study examined the degradation of four commonly found organic compounds, 4-nonylphenol, 4-t-octylphenol, bisphenol A, and triclosan, in soil following the addition of two biosolids over 32. weeks. The pattern of degradation was assessed to determine if it followed a standard first-order decay model or if a biphasic model with a degrading and a recalcitrant fraction better described the data. The time taken for the initial concentrations to decrease by 50% (DT50), based on a first-order model, was 12-25. d for 4-nonylphenol, 10-14. d for 4-t-octylphenol, 18-102. d for bisphenol A, and 73-301. d for triclosan. For 4-nonylphenol, bisphenol A and triclosan, the biphasic model fitted the degradation data better than the first-order model, indicating the presence of a degrading fraction and a non-degrading recalcitrant fraction. The recalcitrant fraction for these three compounds at the completion of the 32. week experiment was 17-21%, 24-42%, and 30-51% of the initial concentrations, respectively. For 4-t-octylphenol, the first-order model was sufficient in explaining the degradation data, indicating that no recalcitrant fraction was present. This study showed that biphasic degradation occurred for some organic compounds in biosolids amended soil and that the use of standard first-order degradation models may underestimate the persistence of some organic compounds following land application of biosolids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1556-1562
Number of pages7
Issue number11
Early online date23 Jun 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Chemosphere. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Chemosphere, 84:11, (2011) DOI:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.05.053

© 2011, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • 4-nonylphenol
  • 4-t-octylphenol
  • Biosolids
  • Bisphenol A
  • Soil degradation
  • Triclosan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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