Isotope Fractionation Associated with the Indirect Photolysis of Substituted Anilines in Aqueous Solution

Marco Ratti, Silvio Canonica, Kristopher McNeill, Jakov Bolotin, Thomas B. Hofstetter

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15 Scopus citations


Organic micropollutants containing aniline substructures are susceptible to different light-induced transformation processes in aquatic environments and water treatment operations. Here, we investigated the magnitude and variability of C and N isotope fractionation during the indirect phototransformation of four para-substituted anilines in aerated aqueous solutions. The model photosensitizers, namely 9,10-anthraquinone-1,5-disulfonate and methylene blue, were used as surrogates for dissolved organic matter chromophores generating excited triplet states in sunlit surface waters. The transformation of aniline, 4-CH3-, 4-OCH3-, and 4-Cl-aniline by excited triplet states of the photosensitizers was associated with inverse and normal N isotope fractionation, whereas C isotope fractionation was negligible. The apparent 15N kinetic isotope effects (AKIE) were almost identical for both photosensitizers, increased from 0.9958 ± 0.0013 for 4-OCH3-aniline to 1.0035 ± 0.0006 for 4-Cl-aniline, and correlated well with the electron donating properties of the substituent. N isotope fractionation is pH-dependent in that H+ exchange reactions dominate below and N atom oxidation processes above the pKa value of the substituted aniline's conjugate acid. Correlations of C and N isotope fractionation for indirect phototransformation were different from those determined previously for the direct photolysis of chloroanilines and offer new opportunities to distinguish between abiotic degradation pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12766-12773
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Sep 29 2015

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© 2015 American Chemical Society.


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