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Biodegradability of Chlorophenols in Surface Waters from the Urban Area of Buenos Aires


Biodegradability of 2-Chlorophenol (2-CP), 3-Chlorophenol (3-CP), 4-Chlorophenol (4-CP), 2,4-Dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP) and 2,4,6 Trichlorophenol (2,4,6-TCP) has been tested in surface waters in the urban area of Buenos Aires. Samples were taken from the La Plata River and from the Reconquista and Matanza-Riachuelo basins, with a total amount of 18 sampling points. Water quality was established measuring chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), and both Escherichia coli and Enterococcus counts. Biodegradability was carried out by a respirometric method, using a concentration of 20 mg L−1 of chlorophenol, and the surface water as inoculum. Chlorophenols concentration in the same water samples were simultaneously measured by a solid phase microextraction (SPME) procedure followed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). 2,4-DCP was the most degradable compound followed by 2,4,6-TCP, 4-CP, 3-CP and 2-CP. Biodegradability showed no correlation with compound concentration. At most sampling points the concentration was below the detection limit for all congeners. Biodegradability does not correlate even with COD, BOD5, or fecal contamination. Biodegradability assays highlighted information about bacterial exposure to contaminants that parameters routinely used for watercourse characterization do not reveal. For this reason, they might be a helpful tool to complete the characterization of a site.

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We thank the Universidad de Buenos Aires for the grant given for this study, supported by UBACYT Program-Project 20020130100378BA 2014–2017.

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Correspondence to A. Gallego.

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Gallego, A., Laurino Soulé, J., Napolitano, H. et al. Biodegradability of Chlorophenols in Surface Waters from the Urban Area of Buenos Aires. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 100, 541–547 (2018).

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  • Biodegradability
  • Chlorophenols
  • La Plata river
  • Matanza-Riachuelo basin
  • Reconquista basin