Free-Radical Oxidants in Natural Waters

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Science  22 Feb 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4433, pp. 886-887
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4433.886


Photooxidation of cumene (isopropylbenzene) and pyridine in dilute solution in natural waters gives products characteristic of reactions with alkylperoxy (RO2·) and hydroxyl (HO·) radicals. On the basis of the rates of formation of the products, the average concentrations of RO2· and HO· are estimated to be about 10–9 and 10–17 mole per liter, respectively. The concentration of RO2· is large enough that, for some classes of reactive chemicals, oxidation can be an important process in natural waters.