Plant Assimilation Kinetics and Metabolism of 2-Mercaptobenzothiazole Tire Rubber Vulcanizers by Arabidopsis

Environ Sci Technol. 2016 Jul 5;50(13):6762-71. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b04716. Epub 2016 Jan 8.


2-Mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT) is a tire rubber vulcanizer found in potential sources of reclaimed water where it may come in contact with vegetation. In this work, we quantified the plant assimilation kinetics of MBT using Arabidopsis under hydroponic conditions. MBT depletion kinetics in the hydroponic medium with plants were second order (t1/2 = 0.52 to 2.4 h) and significantly greater than any abiotic losses (>18 times faster; p = 0.0056). MBT depletion rate was related to the initial exposure concentration with higher rates at greater concentrations from 1.6 μg/L to 147 μg/L until a potentially inhibitory level (1973 μg/L) lowered the assimilation rate. 9.8% of the initial MBT mass spike was present in the plants after 3 h and decreased through time. In-source LC-MS/MS fragmentation revealed that MBT was converted by Arabidopsis seedlings to multiple conjugated-MBT metabolites of differential polarity that accumulate in both the plant tissue and hydroponic medium; metabolite representation evolved temporally. Multiple novel MBT-derived plant metabolites were detected via LC-QTOF-MS analysis; proposed transformation products include glucose and amino acid conjugated MBT metabolites. Elucidating plant transformation products of trace organic contaminants has broad implications for water reuse because plant assimilation could be employed advantageously in engineered natural treatment systems, and plant metabolites in food crops could present an unintended exposure route to consumers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Rubber / chemistry*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Allergens
  • Rubber