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Open Access Open Badges Research article

New hydroxylated metabolites of 4-monochlorobiphenyl in whole poplar plants

Guangshu Zhai1, Hans-Joachim Lehmler2 and Jerald L Schnoor12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 52242, USA

2 Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 52242, USA

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Chemistry Central Journal 2011, 5:87  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-5-87

Published: 20 December 2011


Two new monohydroxy metabolites of 4-monochlorobiphenyl (CB3) were positively identified using three newly synthesized monohydroxy compounds of CB3: 2-hydroxy-4-chlorobiphenyl (2OH-CB3), 3-hydroxy-4-chlorobiphenyl (3OH-CB3) and 4-hydroxy-3-chlorobiphenyl (4OH-CB2). New metabolites of CB3, including 2OH-CB3 and 3OH-CB3, were confirmed in whole poplars (Populus deltoides × nigra, DN34), a model plant in the application of phytoremediation. Furthermore, the concentrations and masses of 2OH-CB3 and 3OH-CB3 formed in various tissues of whole poplar plants and controls were measured. Results showed that 2OH-CB3 was the major product in these two OH-CB3s with chlorine and hydroxyl moieties in the same phenyl ring of CB3. Masses of 2OH-CB3 and 3OH-CB3 in tissues of whole poplar plants were much higher than those in the hydroponic solution, strongly indicating that the poplar plant itself metabolizes CB3 to both 2OH-CB3 and 3OH-CB3. The total yield of 2OH-CB3 and 3OH-CB3, with chlorine and hydroxyl in the same phenyl ring of CB3, was less than that of three previously found OH-CB3s with chlorine and hydroxyl in the opposite phenyl rings of CB3 (2'OH-CB3, 3'OH-CB3, and 4'OH-CB3). Finally, these two newly detected OH-CB3s from CB3 in this work also suggests that the metabolic pathway was via epoxide intermediates. These five OH-CB3s clearly showed the complete metabolism profile from CB3 to monohydroxylated CB3. More importantly, it's the first report and confirmation of 2OH-CB3 and 3OH-CB3 (new metabolites of CB3) in a living organism.

Graphical abstract