Degradation of VX surrogate profenofos on surfaces via in situ photo-oxidation

Lauren M. Petrick, Sara Sabach, Yael Dubowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Surface degradation of profenofos (PF), a VX nerve gas surrogate, was investigated using in situ photo-oxidation that combines simple instrumentation and ambient gases (O2 and H2O) as a function of exposure conditions ([O3], [OH], UV light λ = 185 and/or 254 nm, relative humidity) and PF film surface density (0.38-3.8 g m-2). PF film 0.38 g m-2 fully degraded after 60 min of exposure to both 254 and 185 nm UV light in humidified air and high ozone. The observed pseudo-first-order surface reaction rate constant (kobs = 0.075 ± 0.004 min-1) and calculated hydroxyl concentration near the film surface ([OH]g = (9 ± 2) × 107 molecules cm-3) were used to determine the second-order rate constant for heterogeneous reaction of PF and OH (kOHPF = (5 ± 1) × 10-12 cm3 molec-1 s-1). PF degradation in the absence of 185 nm light or without humidity was lower (70% or 90% degradation, respectively). With denser PF films ranging from 2.3 to 3.8 g m-2, only 80% degradation was achieved until the PF droplet was redissolved in acetonitrile which allowed >95% PF degradation. Surface product analysis indicated limited formation of the nontoxic phosphoric acid ester but the formation of nonvolatile chemicals with increased hydrophilicity and addition of OH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8751-8758
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number15
StatePublished - 6 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


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