Investigations on the Biodegradability of Chlorinated Fulvic Acids Untersuchungen zur mikrobiellen Verwertbarkeit gechlorter Fulvinsäuren

B. Hambsch, U. Schmiedel, P. Werner, F. H. Frimmel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial biodegradation of organic substances takes place during drinking water treatment, but also in the distribution net, if the drinking water still contains biodegradable organic substances. This phenomenon is called regrowth. The regrowth potential of a drinking water is high, when for instance ozonation is used as the last step of treatment. It was proved before, that ozonation increases the biodegradability of humic substances, which are the main fraction of organic carbon in drinking water. In this work the objective was to check, if chlorination has a similar effect on humic substances. Using the method developed by Werner of measuring the regrowth potential of a water it could be shown by dilution series with chlorinated and unchlorinated humic substances that the substrate quality of these organics is increased by chlorination. The better substrate quality is seen in the chlorinated solutions, which might contain also low molecular weight organic compounds, but also in the fulvic acid fraction after XAD‐enrichment, which removes most of the low molecular weight organic compounds. The chlorination creates in the fulvic acid solutions a shift of molecular size to smaller molecules and higher polar substances, which might be the reasons for the better biodegradability. From these results it can be concluded, that chlorination produces substances, which are more easily biodegradable. But this will not produce regrowth problems as long as there is free chlorine present as a disinfectant. In contrast, when the chlorine demand is very high and no free chlorine is left, this might produce high colony counts in the distribution net.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
JournalActa Hydrochimica et Hydrobiologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradability
  • Chlorination
  • Fulvic Acids
  • Regrowth Potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigations on the Biodegradability of Chlorinated Fulvic Acids Untersuchungen zur mikrobiellen Verwertbarkeit gechlorter Fulvinsäuren'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this