Kinetic analysis of the transformation of phthalate esters in a series of stoichiometric reactions in anaerobic wastes
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Phthalates such as dimethyl phthalate, dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), diethyl phthalate (DEP), di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate and mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) are degraded to varying degrees under anaerobic conditions in waste treatment systems. Here we kinetically analyse the enzymatic hydrolyses involved and the subsequent stoichiometric reactions. The resulting model indicates that the degradation of the alcohols released and the transformation of the phthalic acid (PA) result in biphasic kinetics for the methane formation during transformation of DMT, DEP and MEHP. The ester hydrolysis and the PA transformation to methane appear to be the two rate-limiting steps. The PA-fermenting bacteria, which have biomass-specific growth rates between 0.04 and 0.085 day−1, grow more slowly than the other bacteria involved. Anaerobic microorganisms that remove intermediate products during phthalic acid ester conversion appear to be important for the efficiency of the ultimate phthalate degradation and to be inhibited by elevated hydrogen partial pressures. The model was based on (and the simulations corresponded well with) data obtained from experimental waste treatment systems.
KeywordsPhthalate DEHP Phthalic Acid Phthalate Ester Hydrogen Partial Pressure
The generous support of V.A. Vavilin and Susanne Jonsson by the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (KG2003-4513 and KU2003-4056) is greatly appreciated.
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