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Reductive Transformation of 3‑Nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO) by Leonardite Humic Acid and Anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS)

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journal contribution
posted on 17.09.2021, 19:34 by Jimmy Murillo-Gelvez, Dominic M. Di Toro, Herbert E. Allen, Richard F. Carbonaro, Pei C. Chiu
3-Nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO) is a major and the most water-soluble constituent in the insensitive munition formulations IMX-101 and IMX-104. While NTO is known to undergo redox reactions in soils, its reaction with soil humic acid has not been evaluated. We studied NTO reduction by anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS) and Leonardite humic acid (LHA) reduced with dithionite. Both LHA and AQDS reduced NTO to 3-amino-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (ATO), stoichiometrically at alkaline pH and partially (50–60%) at pH ≤ 6.5. Due to NTO and hydroquinone speciation, the pseudo-first-order rate constants (kObs) varied by 3 orders of magnitude from pH 1.5 to 12.5 but remained constant from pH 4 to 10. This distinct pH dependency of kObs suggests that NTO reactivity decreases upon deprotonation and offsets the increasing AQDS reactivity with pH. The reduction of NTO by LHA deviated continuously from first-order behavior for >600 h. The extent of reduction increased with pH and LHA electron content, likely due to greater reactivity of and/or accessibility to hydroquinone groups. Only a fraction of the electrons stored in LHA was utilized for NTO reduction. Electron balance analysis and LHA redox potential profile suggest that the physical conformation of LHA kinetically limited NTO access to hydroquinone groups. This study demonstrates the importance of carbonaceous materials in controlling the environmental fate of NTO.