The University of Arizona
SWES dept logo Environmental Biogeochemistry Group Sabino Canyon in fall color
Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science

Research Project:

Interaction of Microbial and Abiotic Processes in Soil Leading to the (Bio)Conversion and Ultimate Attenuation of New Insensitive Munitions Compounds

Objective: Relatively little is known about the environmental behavior of two new insensitive munitions compounds (IMCs), 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazole-5-one (NTO) and 2,4-dinitroanisol (DNAN). Bacteria are known that can degrade and biotransform nitroaromatic compounds, and biotransformations catalyzing the reduction of nitro-groups or demethylation of methoxy groups create reactive intermediates that are subject to oxidative coupling and formation of bound residue. In order to better understand the environmental fate of the new IMCs, the objective of this project is to study the interaction of biological and abiotic processes in the soil that collectively contribute to their conversion and attenuation under a range of soil conditions. This project has expanded our understanding of the potential risk for the accumulation of toxic intermediates, the potential for soil to attenuate the risk, as well as provide a scientific basis to predict the long-term fate of the IMCs to either mineralized products, bound residue in humus, or tightly adsorbed species based on soil composition and biogeochemical conditions.

Group Contact:

Leif Abrell and Jon Chorover  


Prof. Jim Field Research Group, University of Arizona; Prof. Reyes Sierra Research Group, University of Arizona; Prof. Jon Chorover Research Group, University of Arizona; Dr. Leif Abrell, Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants; Dr. John Coffey, CH2M Hill

Funding Source:

Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program.  

For More Information

Updated October 20, 2016

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