Environmental Chemistry Environmental Chemistry Society
Environmental problems - Chemical approaches

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Comparative ecotoxicity study of glycerol biobased solvents

Eduardo Perales , Cristina García , Laura Lomba , José García , Elisabet Pires , Mari Sancho , Enrique Navarro , Beatriz Giner


Glycerol biobased ethers have a high potential as solvents due to their chemical inertness and diversity that allows modulate their properties, such as polarity, hydrophobicity or viscosity, depending on the specific needs in each case. Despite their renewable source, the environmental goodness of these solvents has to be checked. In this case, the acute ecotoxicity of five glycerol-derivative solvents (3-ethoxi-1,2-propanodiol [2.0.0], 1,3-diethoxi-2-propanol [2.0.2], 3-butoxi-1,2-100 propanediol [4.0.0], 1,3- dibutoxi-2-propanol [4.0.4], and 1,2,3- tributoxipropane [4.4.4]) has been evaluated in a systematic study using several bioindicators as aquatic models covering the trophic chain (the crustacean Daphnia magna, the fish Danio rerio and the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii). These results have been compared with the previously studied bioindicator Vibrio fischeri. As a general trend and according to the hypothesis of this work, the toxicity of these solvents increased as a function of their lipophilicity, being related with the increase of the alkyl chains in the basic structure; accordingly, the least toxic compound for all the aquatic organisms was 3-ethoxi-1,2-propanodiol and the most toxic solvent was 1,2,3-tributoxipropane, excepting in the case of D. rerio and V. fischeri, with 1,3-dibutoxi-2-propanol as the most toxic chemical. Furthermore, with the intention of evaluating the potential damage caused by eventual emissions, we have used the bases of the Environmental Health and Safety Approach –EHSA, a methodology used in the early phases of chemical process design for detecting risks related with the environment and the human health. Using available physicochemical and toxicity data, each chemical compound receives a score for category-Health, Safety and Environment-. According to this evaluation, the best candidates to be considered as less dangerous for a short exposition time according the studied biomodels are 3-ethoxi-1,2-propanodiol, 3-butoxi-1,2-propanediol and 1,3-diethoxi-2-propanol.

EN17082  Accepted 22 June 2017

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