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Environmental degradation and persistence

Xenobiotics, Pollutants, Herbicides, Pesticides, etc.


EC/MS is used successfully for simulating most major reactions that take place in the environmental degradation process, i.e., aquatic (aqueous), photolytic (photochemical), microbial conversions including adduct formation (phase II). In addition relevant reactive intermediates useful in the understanding of the metabolic (degradation) pathway of xenobiotic have been generated electrochemically – impossible to extract form environmental samples, i.e., soil.

Predicting the persistence of chemicals/pollutants in the environment based on the EC potential is another promising application.EC/MS is a simple, inexpensive and extremely fast approach to get a first insight into the degradation process of pollutants in the environment.

Comparison Electrochemical vs. Environmental Degradation of Sulfadiazine

Sulfadiazine (SDZ) - a typical sulfonamide used as a veterinary antibiotic and with well known metabolites (degradation products) in soil and from literature - is used to study the metabolism of xenobiotics in the environment and to compare with the electrochemical degradation.

Mass Voltammogram measured in flow injection mode while a potential ramp from 0 to 2,500 mV was applied with a slope of 10 mV/s. Effect of oxidation potential on selected m/z ratio indicates the degradation of SDZ and the formation of the metabolites, starting at ca. 1100 mV. All major metabolites were generated in only a few minutes using infusion EC/MS.Ref. Hoffmann Th., et al., Anal Bioanal Chem, 399 (2011) 1859 - 1868

Proposed reaction scheme, click here

Electrochemically Induced Formation of Non-Extractable Residues and Persistence

EC ic used successfully to initiate chemical reactions (adduct formations, Phase II reactions) between the xenobiotic (e.g., pollutant, herbicide, pesticide, etc.) or its metabolite with environmental matrices such as natural organic matter (NOM) to form non-extractable residues (NERs) which now become accessible to MS analysis.

Furthermore, the applied potential necessary for the degradation of the Xenobiotic in the electrochemical cell provides a direct information on the persistence or stability in the environment.EC/MS provides a much faster and better understanding of xenobiotics degradation, their risk assessment and persistence in environmental degradation then using tedious and daunting extraction procedures form soil.

More Information

For more information about Environmental Degradation / Persistence see tab with References above or contact Antec at info@antecscientific.com.

Application Notes

Application Notebook


  • 221_070_01 - Online EC MS A Powerful Tool for Fast Prediction of Phase I and II Drug Metabolism
  • 221_076_01 - Expanding Role of Electrochemistry Mass Spectrometry in Life Sciences
  • 221_077_01 - Novel method for efficient reduction of disulfide bonds in peptides and proteins prior MS detection
  • 221_078_01 - Identification of electrochemically synthesized metabolites
  • 221_079_01 - Insights into Nucleic Acids Oxidation by ElectrochemistryLiquid ChromatographyMass Spectrometry
  • 221_090_01 - Degradation of Xenobiotics and Binding to Organic Matter by OnLine EC MS
  • 221_105_01 - Controlled Reduction of Disulfide Bonds in Biopharmaceuticals Using an Electrochemical Reactor Cell online with LCMS Rolduc 2014
  • 221_106_01 - ElectrochemistryMS a Powerful Tool in Drug Metabolism Rolduc 2014
  • 221_107_01 - ElectrochemistryMS a Powerful Tool in Drug Metabolism ASMS 2014
  • 221_108_01 - Controlled Reduction of Disulfide Bonds in Proteins and Peptides Using an Electrochemical Reactor Cell in online LCECMS ASMS 2014
  • 221_115_01 - Controlled Reduction of Disulfide Bonds in Biopharmaceuticals ElCheMS2015
  • 221_116_01 - Enhanced Pharmaceutical Stability ElCheMS2015
  • 221_117_01 - Mimicking Drug Metabolism ElCheMS2015
  • 221_118_01 - Electrochem Reduction of Disulfide Bonds ASMS2015
  • 221_120_01 - ECHDX for the Analysis of Protein Therapeutics HOS2015
  • 221_226_01 - The Application of ElectrochemistryMS to Pharmaceutical Stability Testing and Degradant Synthesis
  • 221_243_01 - New EC cell for superior reduction of protein disulfide bonds
  • 221_246_01 - Triclosan environmental degradation
  • 221_247_01 - Electrochemical Simulation of Phase I Metabolism of Three Novel Cardiovascular Drugs

16304419 - Electrochemical oxidation of fluoroquinolone antibiotics: Mechanism, residual antibacterial activity and toxicity change
Linyan Zhu, Beatrix Santiago-Schübel, Hongxia Xiao, Henner Hollert, Stephan Kueppers; Water Research, 102, 1 October 2016, Pages 52–62

456535 - An efficient laboratory workflow for environmental risk assessment of organic chemicals
Linyan Zhu, Beatrix Santiago-Schübel, Hongxia Xiao, Björn Thiele, Zhiliang Zhu, Yanling Qiu, Henner Hollert, Stephan Küppers; Chemosphere, 131, July 2015, Pages 34–40

219673 - Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to study oxidative degradation of environmentally relevant pharmaceuticals by electrochemistry and ozonation
Helene Faber, Holger Lutze, Pablo Lores Lareo, Lisa Frensemeier, Martin Vogel, Torsten C. Schmidt, Uwe Karst; Journal of Chromatography A, 1343, 23 May 2014, Pages 152–159

22819944 - Bottom-up approach for the reaction of xenobiotics and their metabolites with model substances for natural organic matter by electrochemistry-mass spectrometry (EC-MS).
Chen L, Hofmann D, Klumpp E, Xiang X, Chen Y, Küppers S.; Chemosphere. 2012 Nov;89(11):1376-83. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.05.105. Epub 2012 Jul 21.

22525874 - Identification and quantification of potential metabolites of Gd-based contrast agents by electrochemistry/separations/mass spectrometry.
Telgmann L, Faber H, Jahn S, Melles D, Simon H, Sperling M, Karst U.; J Chromatogr A. 2012 Jun 1;1240:147-55. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2012.03.088. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

22227746 - Electrochemical oxidation and protein adduct formation of aniline: a liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry study.
Melles D, Vielhaber T, Baumann A, Zazzeroni R, Karst U.; Anal Bioanal Chem. 2012 Apr;403(2):377-84. doi: 10.1007/s00216-011-5673-0. Epub 2012 Jan 8.

21170519 - Electrochemistry-mass spectrometry for mechanistic studies and simulation of oxidation processes in the environment.
Hoffmann T, Hofmann D, Klumpp E, Küppers S.; Anal Bioanal Chem. 2011 Feb;399(5):1859-68. doi: 10.1007/s00216-010-4575-x. Epub 2010 Dec 19.

24300003 - Simulation of metabolic processes of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons using electrochemistry/mass spectrometry
Tina Wigger, Lars Buter, Philipp Strohmide and Uwe Karst; ASMS 2014 poster

24300004 - Simulation of redox metabolism
Christophorus et al.; poster

See our support pages for a full list of recent literature