Field dissipation of 4-nonylphenol, 4-t-octylphenol, triclosan and bisphenol A following land application of biosolids

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The persistence of contaminants entering the environment through land application of biosolids needs to be understood to assess the potential risks associated. This study used two biosolids treatments to examine the dissipation of four organic compounds: 4-nonylphenol, 4-t-octylphenol, bisphenol A and triclosan, under field conditions in South Australia. The pattern of dissipation was assessed to determine if a first-order or a biphasic model better described the data. The field dissipation data was compared to previously obtained laboratory degradation data. The concentrations of 4-nonylphenol, 4-t-octylphenol and bisphenol A decreased during the field study, whereas the concentration of triclosan showed no marked decrease. The time taken for 50% of the initial concentration of the compounds in the two biosolids to dissipate (DT50), based on a first-order model, was 257 and 248. d for 4-nonylphenol, 231 and 75. d for 4-t-octylphenol and 289 and 43. d for bisphenol A. These field DT50 values were 10- to 20-times longer for 4-nonylphenol and 4-t-octylphenol and 2.5-times longer for bisphenol A than DT50 values determined in the laboratory. A DT50 value could not be determined for triclosan as this compound showed no marked decrease in concentration. The biphasic model provided a significantly improved fit to the 4-t-octylphenol data in both biosolids treatments, however, for 4-nonylphenol and bisphenol A it only improved the fit for one treatment. This study shows that the use of laboratory experiments to predict field persistence of compounds in biosolids amended soils may greatly overestimate degradation rates and inaccurately predict patterns of dissipation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1050-1058
Number of pages9
Issue number10
Early online date21 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • 4-nonylphenol
  • 4-t-octylphenol
  • Biosolids
  • Bisphenol A
  • Field dissipation
  • Triclosan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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