The Fate of Methylcyclohexane Methanol in Soil and Effect on Enzyme Activity



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Methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) is the chemical that leaked into the Elk River, in Charlestown, West Virginia on the 9th of January, 2014, causing state of emergency called for use of drinking water contaminated with the chemical. Methylcyclohexane methanol is an organic compound classified as a saturated higher alicyclic primary alcohol. It is commonly used in air fresheners and as frothing agent for coal processing and cleaning. The full toxicity of this chemical to humans was unknown at the time of spill and there is still lack of information on exact toxic effects of the crude MCHM. In a recent study it was determined that the MCHM can cause damage to human DNA and potentially cause cancer and reproductive problems. Soils are ultimate recipient of all kinds of contaminates from different sources. There is a need to study and investigate the properties of the MCHM in water and soil especially with the crude MCHM. If released to soil, MCHM is expected to have very high mobility. Volatilization from moist soil surfaces is expected to be an important fate process. To determine toxicity of this chemical on soil biological properties, we measured beta-glucosidase activities in soil treated with different rates and incubated for periods of one hour to 4-weeks. Results indicated that in short term enzyme activity was inhibited by MCHM.

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Methylcyclohexane methanol, soil toxicity, microbial activity


Life Sciences

The Fate of Methylcyclohexane Methanol in Soil and Effect on Enzyme Activity

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