2-Methylisoborneol (2-MIB) is one of the most commonly observed taste and odor (T&O) compounds present in drinking water sources. As it is biodegradable, a preservation agent, typically mercury chloride, is needed if the water is not analyzed right after sampling. Since mercury is a toxic metal, an alternative chemical that is cheaper and less toxic is desirable. In this study, two chemicals commonly used in water treatment processes, chlorine (as sodium hypochlorite) and KMnO4
(potassium permanganate), are studied to determine their feasibility as preservation agents for 2-MIB in water. Preservation experiments were first conducted in deionized water spiked with 2-MIB and with chlorine or permanganate at 4 and 25 °C. The results indicate that 2-MIB concentrations in the water samples spiked with both chemicals remained almost constant within 14 days for all the tested conditions, suggesting that oxidation and volatilization did not cause the loss of 2-MIB in the system. The experiments were further conducted for three different reservoir water samples with 30–60 ng/L of indulgent 2-MIB. The experimental results demonstrated that preservation with permanganate may have underestimated the 2-MIB concentration in the samples as a result of the formation of manganese dioxide particles in natural water and adsorption of 2-MIB onto the particles. Chlorine was demonstrated to be a good preservation agent for all three tested natural waters since oxidation of 2-MIB was negligible and biodegradation was inhibited. When the residual chlorine concentrations were controlled to be higher than 0.5 mg/L on the final day (day 14) of the experiments, the concentration reduction of 2-MIB became lower than 13% at both of the tested temperatures. The results demonstrated that sodium hypochlorite can be used as an alternative preservation agent for 2-MIB in water before analysis.
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