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Water Research
Vol. 116, 2017, Pages: 203–210

Enantioselective reductive transformation of climbazole: A concept towards quantitative biodegradation assessment in anaerobic biological treatment processes

Monica Brienza, Serge Chiron

UMR HydroSciences 5569, IRD, Montpellier University, 15 Avenue Ch. Flahault, 34093 Montpellier cedex 5, France.


An efficient chiral method-based using liquid chromatography-high resolution-mass spectrometry analytical method has been validated for the determination of climbazole (CBZ) enantiomers in wastewater and sludge with quantification limits below the 1 ng/L and 2 ng/g range, respectively. On the basis of this newly developed analytical method, the stereochemistry of CBZ was investigated over time in sludge biotic and sterile batch experiments under anoxic dark and light conditions and during wastewater biological treatment by subsurface flow constructed wetlands. CBZ stereoselective degradation was exclusively observed under biotic conditions, confirming the specificity of enantiomeric fraction variations to biodegradation processes. Abiotic CBZ enantiomerization was insignificant at circumneutral pH and CBZ was always biotransformed into CBZ-alcohol due to the specific and enantioselective reduction of the ketone function of CBZ into a secondary alcohol function. This transformation was almost quantitative and biodegradation gave good first order kinetic fit for both enantiomers. The possibility to apply the Rayleigh equation to enantioselective CBZ biodegradation processes was investigated. The results of enantiomeric enrichment allowed for a quantitative assessment of in situ biodegradation processes due to a good fit (R2 > 0.96) of the anoxic/anaerobic CBZ biodegradation to the Rayleigh dependency in all the biotic microcosms and was also applied in subsurface flow constructed wetlands. This work extended the concept of applying the Rayleigh equation towards quantitative biodegradation assessment of organic contaminants to enantioselective processes operating under anoxic/anaerobic conditions.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Climbazole; Biodegradation; Enantiomeric enrichment; Rayleigh equation.

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