Kinetic bromine isotope effect: Example from the microbial debromination of brominated phenols Academic Article uri icon


  • The increasing use of kinetic isotope effects for environmental studies has motivated the development of new compound-specific isotope analysis techniques for emerging pollutants. Recently, high-precision bromine isotope analysis in individual brominated organic compounds was proposed, by the coupling of gas chromatography to a multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer using strontium as an external spike for instrumental bias correction. The present study, for the first time, demonstrates an application of this technique for determining bromine kinetic isotope effects during biological reaction, focusing on the reductive debromination of brominated phenols under anaerobic conditions. Results show bromine isotope enrichment factors (ε) of −0.76 ± 0.08, −0.46 ± 0.19, and −0.20 ± 0.06 ‰ for the debromination of 4-bromophenol, 2,4-dibromophenol, and 2,4,6-tribromophenol, respectively. These values are rather low, yet still high enough to be obtained with satisfying certainty. This further implies that the analytical method may be also appropriate for future environmental applications.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013