Chemical Identification and Flavor Profile Analysis of Iodinated Phenols Produced From Disinfection of Spacecraft Drinking Water


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Virginia Tech


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is considering the use of iodine for disinfection of recycled wastewater and potable water in the International Space Station (ISS). Like Chlorine and other halogen compounds, iodine can form disinfection by-products (DBPs) in the presence of organic compounds. Recycled wastewater sources proposed for reuse in the space station include laundry, urine, and humidity condensate. These contain large concentrations of iodine-demanding compounds, including phenol (Barkely et al., 1992). Therefore, the potential for the formation of iodine disinfection by-products (IDBPs) is of concern.

Based on the characteristics of the ISS recycled wastewater sources and potable water treatment system, a series of experiments was designed to evaluate the formation of IDBPs under different experimental conditions. Studies were conducted by reacting various concentrations of iodine with phenol at pH 5.5 and 8.0.Iodine concentrations of 10 and 50 mg/L and phenol concentrations of 5 and 50 mg/L were used. Reactions were monitored for up to 32 days for the formation of IDBPs. All reactions were maintained at 20 C in dark. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) were used for identification and quantitative analysis of phenolic compounds. Spectrophotometry was used to monitor the iodine concentrations. Falvor Profile analysis (FPA) method was used to evaluate the odor characteristics of the phenolic compounds.

Reactions of iodine with phenol resulted in the formation of the following by-products: 2-iodophenol, 4-iodophenol, diiodophenols, and 2,4,6-triiodophenol. Most reaction conditions studied resulted in the formation of all or some of the specified iodophenols. The initial mass ratio of iodine to phenol was the major determining factor in the concentrations and types of by-products formed. The IDBPs were formed within one hour after initiation of the reactions. Extended reaction times did not lead to significant increases in the concentration of IDBPs. Under most reaction conditions, mono-subsituted phenols were detected at significantly higher concentrations than di-substituted phenolic compounds; triiodophenol was the major by-product when iodine:phenol mass ratio was 10:1. The greatest number of IDBPs were formed when reaction solutions consisted of 1:1 mass ratio of iodine to phenol. FPA panel indicated the odor threshold concentrations for phenol, 2-iodophenol, and 4-iodophenol were 5 mg/L, less than 1 ug/L, and 1 mg/L respectively. The most common odor descriptions for all these compounds were "chemical", "phenolic", and "medicinal".



Phenol, Disinfection, Iodine, Disinfection By-products, iodophenol, flavor profile analysis