With the phaseout of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) production in most countries and its well known recalcitrance, there is a need to quantify the potential release of PFOS from precursors previously or currently being emitted into the environment. Aerobic biodegradation of N-ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamidoethanol (EtFOSE) was monitored in two soils from Indiana, USA: an acidic forest silt loam (FRST-48, pH = 5.5) and a high pH agricultural loam (PSF-49, pH = 7.8) with similar organic carbon contents (2.4 and 2.6%) for 210 d and 180 d, respectively. At designated times, triplicate samples were sacrificed for which headspace samples were taken followed by three sequential extractions. Extracts were analyzed using HPLC-tandem mass spectrometry. Measured profiles of EtFOSE degradation and generation/degradation of subsequent metabolites were fitted to the Indiana soils data as well as to a previously published data set for a Canadian soil using an R-based model (KinGUII) to explore pathways and estimate half-lives (t1/2) for EtFOSE and metabolites. EtFOSE degradation ranged from a few days to up to a month. PFOS yields ranged form 1.06–5.49 mol% with the alkaline soils being four to five times higher than the acidic soil. In addition, a direct pathway to PFOS had to be invoked to describe the early generation of PFOS in the Canadian soil. Of all metabolites, the sulfonamidoacetic acids were the most persistent (t1/2 ≥ 3 months) in all soils. We hypothesized that while pH-pKa dependent speciation may have impacted rates, differences in microbial communities between the 3 soils arising from varied soil properties including pH, nutrient levels, soil management, and climatic regions are likely the major factors affecting pathways, rates, and PFOS yields.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2017
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