Journal article

Probing the Photosensitizing and Inhibitory Effects of Dissolved Organic Matter by Using N,N-dimethyl-4-cyanoaniline (DMABN)

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) can act as a photosensitizer and an inhibitor in the phototransformation of several nitrogen-containing organic contaminants in surface waters. The present study was performed to select a probe molecule that is suitable to measure these antagonistic properties of DOM. Out of nine studied nitrogen-containing aromatic compounds, 4-cyanoaniline, N,N-dimethyl-4-cyanoaniline (DMABN), sotalol (a beta-blocker) and sulfadiazine (a sulfonamide antibiotic) exhibited a marked photosensitized transformation that could be substantially inhibited by addition of phenol as a model antioxidant. The photosensitized transformation of DMABN, the selected probe compound, was characterized in detail under UV-A and visible irradiation (lambda > 320 nm) to avoid direct phototransformation. Low reactivity of DMABN with singlet oxygen was found (second-order rate constant <2 x 10(7) M-1 s(-1)). Typically at least 85% of the reactivity of DMABN could be inhibited by DOM or the model antioxidant phenol. The photosensitized transformation of DMABN mainly proceeded (>72%) through demethylation yielding N-methyl-4-cyanoaniline and formaldehyde as primary products. In solutions of standard DOM extracts and their mixtures the phototransformation rate constant of DMABN was shown to vary nonlinearly with the DOM concentration. Model equations describing the dependence of such rate constants on DOM and model antioxidant concentrations were successfully used to fit experimental data.


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