Remediating dicamba-contaminated water with zerovalent iron

C. Gibb, T. Satapanajaru, S. D. Comfort, P. J. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Dicamba (3,6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoicacid) is a highly mobile pre- and post-emergence herbicide that has been detected in ground water. We determined the potential of zerovalent iron (Fe0) to remediate water contaminated with dicamba and its common biological degradation product, 3,6-dichlorosalicylic acid (DCSA). Mixing an aqueous solution of 100 μM dicamba with 1.5% Fe0 (w/v) resulted in 80% loss of dicamba within 12 h. Solvent extraction of the Fe0 revealed that dicamba removal was primarily through adsorption; however when the Fe0 was augmented with Al or Fe(III) salts, dicamba was dechlorinated to an unidentified degradation product. In contrast to dicamba, Fe0 treatment of DCSA resulted in removal with some dechlorination observed. When DCSA was treated with Fe0 plus Al or Fe(III) salts, destruction was 100%. Extracts of this Fe0 treatment contained the same HPLC degradation peak observed with the Fe0 + Al or Fe(III) salt treatment of dicamba. Molecular modeling suggests that differences in removal and dechlorination rates between dicamba and DCSA may be related to the type of coordination complex formed on the iron surface. Experiments with 14C-labeled dicamba confirmed that Fe-adsorbed dicamba residues are available for subsequent biological mineralization (11% after 125 d). These results indicate that Fe0 could be potentially used to treat dicamba and DCSA-contaminated water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-848
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Biodegradation
  • Dechlorination
  • Molecular modeling
  • Zerovalent iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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