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Institute of Urban Environment has made new progress in understanding the occurrence and fate of BPA methylation products in the aquatic environment

Bisphenol A (BPA), chemically designated as 2,2-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl) propane, is a very common synthetic organic compound, used as intermediate in variety of consumer products like polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It is one of the highest production chemicals in the world manufactured in bulk. Because of its well-known endocrine disrupting activity, BPA has been considered as a concern for human health as well as for the environment.

The Environmental Biotechnology Research Team (Prof. Chang-Ping Yu’s group) has been working on the environmental fate of BPA. The occurrence of BPA in the aquatic environment, including the wastewater and surface river water, was studied (Sun et al., Environmental Pollution, 2017; Sun et al., Chemosphere, 2016), and the transformation mechanism of BPA by the ammonia oxidizing bacteria was investigated (Sun et al., Environmental Science & Technology, 2012).

Due to the wide use, BPA has been detected frequently in the aquatic environment. However, the information on the distribution of BPA transformation products is limited. Therefore, two BPA transformation products, namely bisphenol A monomethyl ether (BPA-MME) and bisphenol A dimethyl ether (BPA-DME), which were more toxic to the developing zebrafish embryo than BPA, were investigated. Results revealed that both transformation products were widely detected in the wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) as well as in surface water of Jiulong River and its estuary with higher detected concentrations and detection frequencies for BPA-DME. Temporal variations were observed in a WWTP based on a five-year sampling campaign. Mass load of BPA and its transformation products was evaluated and results indicated the generation of BPA-MME and BPA-DME during the wastewater treatment processes, which contributed for 1.95% BPA removal. BPA and its transformation products were also widely detected in the surface water of Jiulong River and its estuary. Results indicated their additional generation in the surface water, since BPA-MME and BPA-DME in the surface river water were with similar level or even higher than effluent in WWTPs.

The result of the study published in an international journal of environmental science. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2018, 357: 401–407 (Category 1, IF=6.434) (Muhammad Ashfaq, Qian Sun*, Han Zhang, Yan Li, Yuwen Wang, Mingyue Li, Min Lv, Xu Liao, Chang-Ping Yu*. Occurrence and fate of bisphenol A transformation products, bisphenol A monomethyl ether and bisphenol A dimethyl ether, in wastewater treatment plants and surface water). This study was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province, CAS President’s International Fellowship to Muhammad Ashfaq, and Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS to Qian Sun.

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