The fate of bisphenol A, 4-tert-octylphenol and 4-nonylphenol leached from plastic debris into marine water – experimental studies on biodegradation and sorption on suspended particulate matter and nano-TiO2

Experiments were carried out, the aim of which was to determine the leaching rates for bisphenol A (4,4′-(propane-2,2-diyl)diphenol – BPA), 4-tert-octylphenol (OP), 4-nonylphenol (NP) from polycarbonate and recycled tyre granules into the seawater. Additionally biodegradation, sorption on marine suspended particulate matter and sorption on various types of nano-TiO2 of BPA, OP, NP were studied. Experiments were carried out on plastics at various stages of degradation. The conducted experiment confirmed the flux of BPA, OP and NP from the studied plastics into seawater.

The initial photodegradation of the plastic had a significant influence on the amount of the studied components released into water. During the first days of the experiment leaching was weaker from aged materials. After 60 days leaching of BPA and OP was higher for aged plastic compared to unaged.

On average, suspension adsorbed OP, BPA and NP from seawater at respective levels of 37%, 75% and 100%. On the other hand, during biodegradation on average 25%, 9% and 2% of OP, BPA and NP respectively are removed from water. Nano-TiO2 of 21 nm pore size diameter adsorbed all the compounds more strongly than nano-TiO2 of 15 nm pores sized coated with Al and stearic acid. The strongest sorption (100%) on different types of nano-TiO2 was that of the most hydrophobic and more linear structured NP with just one phenol group. The weakest sorption was observed in the case of BPA, which is the least hydrophobic, and characterized by higher compared to NP and OP steric hindrance and electrostatic repulsion.


Marta Staniszewska, Bożena Graca, Iga Nehring, Chemosphere, Volume 145, Pages 535–542, February 2016

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