Nitrile, aldehyde, and halonitroalkane formation during chlorination/chloramination of primary amines

Sung Hee Joo, William A. Mitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


The decreasing availability of pristine water supplies is prompting drinking water utilities to exploit waters impacted by wastewater effluents and agricultural runoff. As these waters feature elevated organic nitrogen concentrations, the pathways responsible for transformation of organic nitrogen into toxic nitrogenous disinfection byproducts during chlorine and chloramine disinfection are of current concern. Partially degraded biomolecules likely constitute a significant fraction of organic nitrogen in these waters. As primary amines occur in important biomolecules, we investigated formation pathways for nitrile, aldehyde, and halonitroalkane byproducts during chlorination and chloramination of model primary amines. Chlorine and chloramines transformed primary amines to nitriles and aldehydes in significant yields overtime scales relevant to drinking water distribution systems. Yields of halonitroalkanes were less significant yet may be important because of the high toxicity associated with these compounds. Our results indicate that chloramination should reduce nitrile concentrations compared to chlorination but may increase the formation of aldehydes and halonitroalkanes at high oxidant doses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1288-1296
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Nitrile, aldehyde, and halonitroalkane formation during chlorination/chloramination of primary amines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this