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Sources, Transport And Reactivity Of Anionic And Non-ionic Surfactants In Several Aquatic Ecosystems In SW Spain: A Comparative Study.

P. Lara-Martin, A. Gómez-Parra, E. González-Mazo
Published 2008 · Chemistry, Medicine

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Presence, distribution and transport mechanisms of the four major synthetic surfactants--linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS), alkyl ethoxysulfates (AES), nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEOs) and alcohol ethoxylates (AEOs)--have been simultaneously studied in different aquatic ecosystems. Urban wastewater discharges and industrial activities were identified as the main sources for these compounds and their metabolites. LAS, AES and carboxylic metabolites remained in the dissolved form (87-99%). However, NPEOs and AEOs were mostly associated with particulate matter (65-86%), so their degradation in the water column was limited due to their lower bioavailability. It was also observed that sorption to the particulate phase was more intense for longer homologs/ethoxymers for all surfactants. With respect to surface sediments, AES levels were considerably below (<0.25 mg/kg) the values detected for LAS and NPEOs. Concentrations of AEOs, however, were occasionally higher (several tens of ppm) than those found for the rest of the target compounds in several sampling stations.
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