Fate of Sucralose through Environmental and Water Treatment Processes and Impact on Plant Indicator Species.
Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 21235203
Environmental Engineering Program and‡ School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University , New Haven, Connecticut 06511, United States.
The degradation and partitioning of sucralose during exposure to a variety of environmental and advanced treatment processes (ATP) and the effect of sucralose on indicator plant species were systematically assessed. Bench scale experiments were used to reproduce conditions from environmental processes (microbial degradation, hydrolysis, soil sorption) and ATPs (chlorination, ozonation, sorption to activated carbon, and UV radiation). Degradation only occurred to a limited extent during hydrolysis, ozonation, and microbial processes indicating that breakdown of sucralose will likely be slow and incomplete leading to accumulation in surface waters. Further, the persistence of sucralose was compared to suggested human tracer compounds, caffeine and acesulfame-K. In comparison sucralose exhibits similar or enhanced characteristics pertaining to persistence, prevalence, and facile detection and can therefore be considered an ideal tracer for anthropogenic activity. Ecological effects of sucralose were assessed by measuring sucrose uptake inhibition in plant cotelydons and aquatic plant growth impairment. Sucralose did not inhibit plant cotelydon sucrose uptake, nor did it effect frond number, wet weight, or growth rate in aquatic plant, Lemna gibba. Though sucralose does not appear toxic to plant growth, the peristent qualities of sucralose may lead to chronic low-dose exposure with largely unknown consequences for human and environmental health.