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Chlordecone (C(10)Cl(10)O; CAS number 143-50-0) has been used extensively as an organochlorine insecticide but is nowadays banned under The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). A search for chlordecone-respiring organisms and choosing between reductive versus oxidative remediation tools and strategies to clean up chlordecone-polluted environments would benefit from the availability of Gibbs free energy data of chlordecone and its potential dechlorination products. Presently such data are not available. Polycyclic "cage" molecules of which chlordecone is an example contain considerable strain energy. It is not a priori clear how this affects the thermodynamic properties of the chlorinated members of this unique class of compounds and to what extent redox potentials for the halogenated congeners are different from those of other aliphatic and aromatic organohalogens. We performed ab initio quantum chemical calculations to estimate Δ(f)H(m)° and Δ(f)G(m)° values of chlordecone and selected dechlorination products and used these data to calculate their Gibbs free energy and redox potential. With redox potentials in the range of 336-413 mV chlordecone has an E(o)' value similar to that of other organochlorines. The results indicate that there are no thermodynamic reasons why chlordecone-respiring or -fermenting organisms should not exist.


Jan Dolfing, Igor Novak, Alain Archelas, Hervé Macarie. Gibbs free energy of formation of chlordecone and potential degradation products: implications for remediation strategies and environmental fate. Environmental science & technology. 2012 Aug 7;46(15):8131-9

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PMID: 22780863

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