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Phototransformation in air

In view of the UV absorption of nitrotoluenes in the sunlight range (wavelength > 295 nm) there is a possibility of direct photolysis under tropospheric conditions. (Nolting, 1987)

The irradiation of m-nitrotoluene in air yielded nitrophenol derivatives: 3-methyl-2-nitrophenol (trace), 3-methyl-6-nitrophenol (trace) and 3-methyl-4-nitrophenol (4.6%). Through these experiments it is noticed that the reaction did never afford the directly hydroxylated derivatives of the original nitrotoluenes. It might be considered from these results that  the photo-excited nitro compounds turned at first into the corresponding phenols, followed by nitration. When m-nitrotoluene was irradiated in nitrogen, the nitro group turned into the hydroxyl group. (Nojima, 1977)

Phototransformation in water

A half-life of 2.6 hours can be derived under the conditions of latitude 40°N in surface waters. It has to be kept in mind that this half-life cannot be transferred directly to environmental conditions because the photolytical active zone is only close to the surface of surface waters due to turbidity and absorption.

It was observed that the photodegradation in pure water is slower than in natural water. The photodegradation depends on the content in humic acid and nitrates, which is higher in natural water. (Simmons, 1986)

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