4-Methylphenol (4-MP), a putative bisphenol A (BPA) degradation intermediate, was detected at concentrations reaching 2.1 mg L(-1) in anoxic microcosms containing 10 mg L(-1) BPA and 5 g of freshwater sediment material collected from four geographically distinct locations and amended with nitrate, nitrite, ferric iron, or bicarbonate as electron acceptors. 4-MP accumulation was transient, and 4-MP degradation was observed under all redox conditions tested. 4-MP was not detected in microcosms not amended with BPA. Unexpectedly, incubations with (13)C-labeled BPA failed to produce (13)C-labeled 4-MP suggesting that 4-MP was not derived from BPA. The detection of 4-MP in live microcosms amended with lactate, but not containing BPA corroborated that BPA was not the source of 4-MP. These findings demonstrate that the transient formation of 4-MP as a possible BPA degradation intermediate must be interpreted cautiously, as microbial activity in streambed microcosms may generate 4-MP from sediment-associated organic material.
Keywords: 4-Methylphenol; Bisphenol A (BPA); Degradation; Microcosm; Sediment.
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