Sorption of quaternary ammonium compounds in soils:Implications to the soil microbial activities

Sarkar, B and Megharaj, M and Xi, YF and Krishnamurti, GSR and Naidu, R (2010) Sorption of quaternary ammonium compounds in soils:Implications to the soil microbial activities. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 184 (1-3). pp. 448-456. ISSN 0304-3894

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Despite their widespread use in household activities and various industries, information on the toxicity of quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) to microbial activities in soil is scant. This study investigated the effect of three commonly used QACs namely hexadecyltrimethyl ammonium bromide (HDTMA), octadecyltrimethyl ammonium bromide (ODTMA) and Arquad on dehydrogenase and potential nitrification activities in three different soils. The toxicity of QACs on the dehydrogenase activity and potential nitrification in these soils followed the order: HDTMA > ODTMA > Arquad and Arquad > HDTMA > ODTMA, respectively. HDTMA, ODTMA and Arquad exhibited toxicity to dehydrogenase activity at concentration of 50, 100 and 750 mg kg−1 soil, respectively, whereas potential nitrification was inhibited by HDTMA and ODTMA even at 50 mg kg−1 soil. Arquad exhibited toxicity to potential nitrification at comparatively higher concentration of 250 mg kg−1 soil, with the severity of toxicity very intense at higher concentrations. The nature of QACs and soil properties influenced the toxicity. The toxic effect of QACs on soil microbial activities was more influenced by the relative release of sorbed QACs in soils. This study provides valuable information on the toxicological properties of some widely used QACs on important soil microbial activity parameters. To our knowledge, this is the first report.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Hazardous Materials
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31 Jan 2020 15:25
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 08:42