Anaerobic Transformation of the Iodinated X‑ray Contrast Medium Iopromide, Its Aerobic Transformation Products, and Transfer to Further Iodinated X‑ray Contrast Media

The iodinated X-ray contrast medium (ICM) iopromide and its aerobic transformation products (TPs) are frequently detected in the effluents of wastewater treatment plants and in different compartments of the aquatic environment. In this study, the anaerobic transformation of iopromide and its aerobic TPs was investigated in water–sediment systems. Iopromide, its final aerobic TP didespropanediol iopromide (DDPI), and its primary aniline desmethoxyacetyl iopromide (DAMI) were used as model substances. Five biologically formed anaerobic TPs of iopromide and DAMI and six of DDPI, and the respective transformation pathways, were identified. The TPs were formed by successive deiodination and hydrolysis of amide moieties. Quantification of the iodinated TPs was achieved by further development of a complementary liquid chromatography (LC)–quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (Q-ToF-MS) and LC–inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) strategy without needing authentic standards, despite several TPs coeluting with others. A database with predicted anaerobic TPs of ICMs was derived by applying the transformation rules found for the anaerobic transformation pathways of iopromide and diatrizoate to further ICMs (iomeprol and iopamidol) and their aerobic TPs already reported in the literature. The environmental relevance of the identified transformation pathways was confirmed by identifying an experimental TP and two predicted TPs using suspect screening of water taken from anaerobic bank filtration zones.