Reactivity and fate of secondary alkane sulfonates (SAS) in marine sediments

This study focused on secondary alkane sulfonates (SAS), anionic surfactants widely used in household applications that access aquatic environments mainly via sewage discharges. Their sorption capacity and anaerobic degradation in marine sediments was investigated, providing the first data available on this topic. SAS partition coefficients increased towards those homologues having longer alkyl chains (from up to 141 L kg(-1) for C14 to up to 1753 L kg(-1) for C17), which were those less susceptible to undergo biodegradation. Overall, SAS removal percentages reached up to 98% after 166 days of incubation using anoxic sediments. The degradation pathway consisted on the formation of sulfocarboxylic acids after an initial fumarate attack of the alkyl chain and successive ?-oxidations. the authors concluded that this is the first study showing that SAS can be degraded in absence of oxygen, so this new information should be taken into account for future environmental risk assessments on these chemicals.

Authors: Baena-Nogueras RM, Rojas-Ojeda P, Sanz JL, González-Mazo E, Lara-Martín PA. ;Full Source: Environmental Pollution. 2014 Jun;189:35-42. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.02.019. Epub 2014 Mar 14. ;