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Biodegradability of ethylenediamine-based complexing agents

, : Biodegradability of ethylenediamine-based complexing agents. Water Research 35(8): 2010-2016, June

Biological degradability of ethylenediamine derivatives depends on the type and number of substituents. The susceptibility to biodegradation decreases in the sequence of substituents -COCH3, -CH3, -C2H5, -CH2CH2OH, -CH2COOH and with polysubstitution. The biodegradability depends also on the kind and number of nitrogen atoms. Complexing agents with a single-nitrogen atom in the molecule (e.g. NTA) succumb relatively readily to biodegradation whereas, compounds with two or more tertiary amino groups are biologically highly stable and do not undergo biodegradation even in experiments with activated sludge adapted at an age of up to 30 days (EDTA, DTPA, PDTA, HEDTA). A lowering of the degree of substitution brings about an increased susceptibility to biodegradation. This holds, e.g., for replacement of tertiary amino groups with secondary ones; thus the symmetrically disubstituted ethylenediamine-N,N'-diacetic acid (EDDA) possesses still sufficient complexing ability while belonging already to the group of potentially degradable substances.


PMID: 11337848

DOI: 10.1016/s0043-1354(00)00455-3

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