Surfactant Modified Zeolite (SMZ) represents a versatile, cost-effective permeable reactive material, capable of treating multiple classes of contaminants. The potential for HDTMA-Br, a cationic surfactant commonly used to modify zeolite, to desorb from the zeolite surface has been identified as a potential issue for the ongoing use of SMZ in water remediation contexts. This paper investigates the toxicity of HDTMA-Br towards enteric virus surrogates, F-RNA bacteriophage MS2 and E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, and soil microflora. The concentration of surfactant desorbing from SMZ was quantified through a bioassay using E. coli. Results showed HDTMA-Br concentrations of ≥10−5 M were toxic to MS2, ≥10−4 M were toxic to E. coli and ≥10−6 M were toxic to B. subtilis. No toxic relationship was established between HDTMA-Br and soil microflora. Desorption of ≥10−4 M of HDTMA-Br was shown for the two SMZ samples under the mixing conditions used. Effects of this surfactant on total soil microflora were ambiguous since no toxic relationship could be established, however, HDTMA-Br, at concentrations desorbing from SMZ, were shown to impact the soil bacterium B. subtilis. Further research is required to determine the effect of this surfactant on microbial populations and species diversity in soils.
- Surfactant modified zeolite
- Hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide
- Surfactant desorption
- Microbial toxicity