Biodegradation of artificial monolayers applied to water storages to reduce evaporative loss

Pittaway, P. and Herzig, M. and Stuckey, N. and Larsen, K. (2015) Biodegradation of artificial monolayers applied to water storages to reduce evaporative loss. Water Science and Technology, 72 (8). pp. 1334-1340. ISSN 0273-1223


Repeat applications of an artificial monolayer to the interfacial boundary layer of large agricultural water storages during periods of high evaporative demand remains the most commercially feasible water conservation strategy. However, the interfacial boundary layer (or microlayer) is ecologically distinct from subsurface water, and repeat monolayer applications may adversely affect microlayer processes. In this study, the natural cleansing mechanisms operating within the microlayer were investigated to compare the biodegradability of two fatty alcohol (C16OH and C18OH) and one glycol ether (C18E1) monolayer compound. The C16OH and C18OH compounds were more susceptible to microbial degradation, but the C18E1 compound was most susceptible to indirect photodegradation. On clean water the surface pressure and evaporation reduction achieved with a compressed C18E1 monolayer was superior to the C18OH monolayer, but on brown water the surface pressure dropped rapidly. These results suggest artificial monolayers are readily degraded by the synergy between photo and microbial degradation. The residence time of C18OH and C18E1 monolayers on clear water is sufficient for cost-effective water conservation. However, the susceptibility of C18E1 to photodegradation indicates the application of this monolayer on brown water may not be cost-effective.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 28170
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 04 May 2016 04:42
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2016 01:25
Uncontrolled Keywords: dissolved organic matter; hexadecanol; microlayer; photodegradation; octadecanol
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960999 Land and Water Management of Environments not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.2166/wst.2015.348

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only