Department Environmental Chemistry

Amine Biotransformation

Many down-the-drain chemicals, especially pharmaceuticals, contain an amine functional group. It is therefore important to understand what transformations may take place at the amine functional group during activated sludge treatment and whether stable or otherwise problematic transformation products might be formed.

In this SNF-funded project, we investigate the biotransformation pathways of a range of structurally diverse amine-containing compounds in activated sludge communities. We use high-resolution mass spectrometry and post-acquisition data processing workflows to search for suspected and unknown transformation products. We use this information to derive the metabolic logic of amine biotransformation, which will then inform the development of biotransformation pathway prediction engines (link to enviPath project).


Gulde, R.; Helbling, D. E.; Scheidegger, A.; Fenner, K. (2014) pH-dependent biotransformation of ionizable organic micropollutants in activated sludge, Environmental Science and Technology, 48(23), 13760-13768, doi:10.1021/es5037139, Institutional Repository
Schymanski, E. L.; Jeon, J.; Gulde, R.; Fenner, K.; Ruff, M.; Singer, H. P.; Hollender, J. (2014) Identifying small molecules via high resolution mass spectrometry: communicating confidence, Environmental Science and Technology, 48(4), 2097-2098, doi:10.1021/es5002105, Institutional Repository