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Aerobic Biotransformation of Fluorotelomer Thioether Amido Sulfonate (Lodyne) in AFFF-Amended Microcosms


The aerobic biotransformation pathways of 4:2, 6:2, and 8:2 fluorotelomer thioether amido sulfonate (FtTAoS) were characterized by determining the fate of the compounds in soil and medium microcosms amended with an aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) solution. The biotransformation of FtTAoS occurred in live microcosms over approximately 40 days and produced 4:2, 6:2, and 8:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate (FtS), 6:2 fluorotelomer unsaturated carboxylic acid (FtUCA), 5:3 fluorotelomer carboxylic acid (FtCA), and C4 to C8 perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs). Two biotransformation products corresponding to singly and doubly oxygenated forms of 6:2 FtTAoS were also identified through high resolution mass spectrometry (MS) analysis and liquid chromatography tandem-MS. An oxidative assay was used to indirectly quantify the total concentration of polyfluorinated compounds and check the mass balance. The assay produced near complete mass recovery of FtTAoS after biotransformation, with 10% (mol/mol) of the amended FtTAoS accounted for in FtS, FtCA, and PFCA products. The transformation rates of identified products appear to be slow relative to FtTAoS, indicating that some intermediates may persist in the environment. This study confirms some of the sources of FtS and PFCAs in groundwater and soil at AFFF-impacted sites and suggests that fluorinated intermediates that are not routinely measured during the biotransformation of PFASs may accumulate.

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