Fate and biodegradability of sulfonated aromatic amines

Nico C.G. Tan, Annemarie Van Leeuwen, Ellen M. Van Voorthuizen, Peter Slenders, Francesc X. Prenafeta-Boldú, Hardy Temmink, Gatze Lettinga, Jim A. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Ten sulfonated aromatic amines were tested for their aerobic and anaerobic biodegradability and toxicity potential in a variety of environmental inocula. Of all the compounds tested, only two aminobenzenesulfonic acid (ABS) isomers, 2- and 4-ABS, were degraded. The observed degradation occurred only under aerobic conditions with inocula sources that were historically polluted with sulfonated aromatic amines. Bioreactor experiments, with non-sterile synthetic wastewater, confirmed the results from the aerobic batch degradation experiments. Both ABS isomers were degraded in long-term continuous experiment by a bioaugmented enrichment culture. The maximum degradation rate in the aerobic bioreactor was 1.6-1.8 gl-1 d-1 for 2-ABS and a somewhat lower value for 4-ABS at hydraulic retention times (HRT) of 2.8-3.3h. Evidence for extensive mineralization of 2- and 4-ABS was based on oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide production during the batch experiments and the high levels of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal in the bioreactor. Furthermore, mineralization of the sulfonate group was demonstrated by high recovery of sulfate. The sulfonated aromatic amines did not show any toxic effects on the aerobic and anaerobic bacterial populations tested. The poor biodegradability of sulfonated aromatic amines indicated under the laboratory conditions of this study suggests that these compounds may not be adequately removed during biological wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-537
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Aerobic
  • Anaerobic
  • Biodegradation
  • Sulfonated aromatic amines
  • Toxicity
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Fate and biodegradability of sulfonated aromatic amines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this