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Fate of CL-20 in sandy soils : Degradation products as potential markers of natural attenuation
; Monteil-Rivera, Fanny
; Halasz, Annamaria
; Manno, Dominic
; Kuperman, Roman G.
; Thiboutot, Sonia
; Ampleman, Guy
NRC Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI-IRB); National Research Council Canada
Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane (CL-20) is an emerging explosive that may replace the currently used explosives such as RDX and HMX, but little is known about its fate in soil. The present study was conducted to determine degradation products of CL-20 in two sandy soils under abiotic and biotic anaerobic conditions. Biotic degradation was prevalent in the slightly acidic VT soil, which contained a greater organic C content, while the slightly alkaline SAC soil favored hydrolysis. CL-20 degradation was accompanied by the formation of formate, glyoxal, nitrite, ammonium, and nitrous oxide. Biotic degradation of CL-20 occurred through the formation of its denitrohydrogenated derivative (m/z 393 Da) while hydrolysis occurred through the formation of a ring cleavage product (m/z 156 Da) that was tentatively identified as CH2 N–C( N–NO2)–CH N–CHO or its isomer N(NO2) CH–CH N–CO–CH NH. Due to their chemical specificity, these two intermediates may be considered as markers of in situ attenuation of CL-20 in soil.