Micropollutants reach the aquatic environment through wastewater treatment plant effluents. Ozonation, applied in wastewater treatment for micropollutants abatement, can yield transformation products (TP), which might be of ecotoxicological concern. Previous studies on TP formation were mostly performed in ultrapure water. However, the water matrix can have a substantial influence and lead to unpredictable yields of TPs with toxicological potential.
In this study the acute toxicity (immobilization) of the parent substances (isoproturon and metoprolol) and also of available TPs of isoproturon, metoprolol and diclofenac towards Daphnia magna (D. magna) were investigated. Further, the acute toxicity of TP mixtures, formed during ozonation of isoproturon, metoprolol and diclofenac was evaluated in the following systems: in the presence of radical scavengers (tert-butanol and dimethyl sulfoxide) and in the presence of hypobromous acid (HOBr), a secondary oxidant in ozonation.
For all tested substances and TP standards, except 2,6-dichloroaniline (EC50 1.02 mg/L (48 h)), no immobilization of D. magna was detected. Ozonated pure water and wastewater did not show an immobilization effect either. After ozonation of diclofenac in the presence of dimethyl sulfoxide 95% (48 h) of the daphnids were immobile. Ozonation of parent substances, after the reaction with HOBr, showed no effect for isoproturon but a high effect on D. magna for diclofenac (95% immobilization (48 h)) and an even higher effect for metoprolol (100% immobilization (48 h)). These results emphasize that complex water matrices can influence the toxicity of TPs as shown in this study for D. magna.