Formation of emerging DBPs from the chlorination and chloramination of seawater algal organic matter and related model compounds

  • Maolida Nihemaiti

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Limited studies focused on reactions occurring during disinfection and oxidation processes of seawater. The aim of this work was to investigate disinfection by-products (DBPs) formation from the chlorination and chloramination of seawater algal organic matter and related model compounds. Simulated algal blooms directly growing in Red Sea, red tide samples collected during an algal bloom event and Hymenomonas sp. monoculture were studied as algal organic matter sources. Experiments were conducted in synthetic seawater containing bromide ion. A variety of DBPs was formed from the chlorination and chloramination of algal organic matter. Brominated DBPs (bromoform, DBAA, DBAN and DBAcAm) were the dominant species. Iodinated DBPs (CIAcAm and iodinated THMs) were detected, which are known to be highly toxic compared to their chlorinated or brominated analogues. Algal organic matter was found to incorporate important precursors of nitrogenous DBPs (N-DBPs), which have been reported to be more toxic than regulated THMs and HAAs. Isotopically-labeled monochloramine (15N- NH2Cl) was used in order to investigate the nitrogen source in N-DBPs. High formation of N-DBPs was found from Hymenomonas sp. sample in exponential growth phase, which was enriched in nitrogen-containing organic compounds. High inorganic nitrogen incorporation was found from the algal samples enriched in humic-like compounds. HAcAms formation was studied from chlorination and chloramination of amino acids. Asparagine, aspartic acid and other amino acids with an aromatic structure were found to be important precursors of HAcAms and DCAN. Factors affecting HAcAms formation (Cl2/ amino acid molar ratio and pH) were evaluated. Studies on the formation kinetics of DCAcAm and DCAN from asparagine suggested a rapid formation of DCAcAm from organic nitrogen (amide group) and a slower incorporation of inorganic nitrogen coming from monochloramine to form DCAN. High amounts of DCAN and DCAcAm were detected from the chloramination of aromatic compounds (i.e., phenol and resorcinol) indicating that N-DBPs can also be formed from organic compounds without any organic nitrogen through the incorporation of inorganic nitrogen from monochloramine. Moreover, results from Hymenomonas sp., aromatic amino acids, and phenolic compounds suggested that aromatic compounds are highly reactive with monochloramine and a major fraction of DBP precursors.
Date of AwardMay 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Science and Engineering
SupervisorJean-Philippe Croue (Supervisor)


  • Chlorine
  • Chloramine
  • disinfection by-products
  • algal organic matter
  • haloacetamides
  • amino acids

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