Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 94248, 1092 GE, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 17, 6700 EV, Wageningen, the Netherlands. Electronic address: [Email]
The desalination and reuse of discharged cooling tower water (CTW) as feed water for the cooling tower could lower the industrial fresh water withdrawal. A potential pre-treatment method before CTW desalination is the use of constructed wetlands (CWs). Biodegradation is an important removal mechanism in CWs. In the present study, the impact of the biocides 2,2-dibromo-2-cyanoacetamide (DBNPA) and glutaraldehyde on the biodegradation process by CW microorganisms was quantified in batch experiments in which benzoic acid was incubated with realistic CTW biocide concentrations. DBNPA had a stronger negative impact on the biodegradation than glutaraldehyde. The combination of DBNPA and glutaraldehyde had a lower impact on the biodegradation than DBNPA alone. UHPLC-qTOF-MS/MS non-target screening combined with data-analysis script 'patRoon' revealed two mechanisms behind this low impact. Firstly, the presence of glutaraldehyde resulted in increased DBNPA transformation to the less toxic transformation product 2-bromo-2-cyanoacetamide (MBNPA) and newly discovered 2,2-dibromopropanediamide. Secondly, the interaction between glutaraldehyde and DBNPA resulted in the formation of new products that were less toxic than DBNPA. The environmental fate and toxicity of these products are still unknown. Nevertheless, their formation can have important implications for the simultaneous use of the biocides DBNPA and glutaraldehyde for a wide array of applications.