This research investigated the biological transformation of trimethoprim (TMP). Partial TMP removal was observed in the presence of ammonia and toluene, and increasing the solids retention time from 20 days to 60 days improved TMP removal in both the nitrifying and heterotrophic bioreactors. Two TMP-related metabolites were identified, the first (5-(3,4,5-trimethoxybenzyl) pyrimidine-2,4-diamine, 5-hydroxyl) showing that a hydroxylation reaction took place, and the second (5-(1-carboxyl, 1-methoxy, 5-methoxy 1-,4-pentene) pyrimidine-2,4-diamine, 5-hydroxyl) showing that the trimethoxybenzyl ring was cleaved. This research is the first that we are aware of to report these two TMP-related byproducts. TMP metabolites show that initiating reactions take place where the electron density is highest, and that these initiating reactions shift the electron density of TMP, likely affecting the course of transformation.
Keywords: bioreactors, electron density, NMR, trimethoprim, wastewater treatment