Synthesis and toxicity of some metabolites of the microbial degradation of synthetic naphthenic acids
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Some ill-defined carboxylic acids, termed 'naphthenic acids' (NA), are best known as important constituents of the > 720. billion. litres of process-affected water associated with the expanding oil sands industries. Other NA are components of some immature and biodegraded crude oils and these may enter the environment via produced water discharges from oil production platforms. Yet others are used as biocides and in the manufacture of steel radial tyres and these may also enter the environment through disposal and/or weathering. The environmental fate of NA, including the mechanisms of biodegradation, therefore needs to be better understood.In order to better elucidate such mechanisms, previously we studied the biodegradation in the laboratory of some alkylcyclohexylbutanoic synthetic NA. However, we could only tentatively identify the metabolites produced. In the present study we report the synthesis and characterisation of six alkylcyclohexylethanoic NA. Each was characterised by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS; trimethylsilyl esters) and we show by co-chromatography that these were indeed the metabolites. Also, a preferential degradation of the trans- isomers was revealed. Assessment of the toxicity of the synthetic NA (Microtox assay), revealed that the relative toxicity of the alkylcyclohexylbutanoic acids was reduced by biotransformation to the alkylcyclohexylethanoic acids, as observed recently for the corresponding aromatic acids.Very recent studies have shown that at least one commercial NA mixture contains cyclohexylbutanoic and alkylcyclohexylethanoic acids, suggesting that the biotransformation of the acids studied herein may be quite relevant to the environmental fate of such acids. A similar study of the acid extractables of one oil sands process-affected water sample suggests that the synthetic acids may be less good 'models' for oil sands NA. The consortia of microbes present in oil sands process-affected water may also be different to those used herein. However, the heterogeneity of oil sands process water is well-known and further detailed studies will need to be made in order to establish whether degradation of oil sands NA proceeds by beta oxidation as observed for the acids herein, or whether the oil sands acids are more resistant to bioremediation. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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Compositional heterogeneity may limit the usefulness of some commercial naphthenic acids for toxicity assaysWest, C.; Jones, D.; Scarlett, Alan; Rowland, S. (2011)Naphthenic acids are considered variously as monocarboxylic acids fitting the formula C nH 2n+zO 2 (where z is a zero or negative even integer), as only alicyclic (i.e. non-aromatic) monocarboxylic acids fitting this ...
Jones, D.; Scarlett, Alan; West, C.; Rowland, S. (2011)Numerous studies have suggested that the toxicity of organic compounds containing at least one carboxylic acid group and broadly classified as "naphthenic acids", is of environmental concern. For example, the acute toxicity ...
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