Pollution characteristics, exposure assessment and potential cardiotoxicities of PM2.5-bound benzotriazole and its derivatives in typical Chinese cities

Chun Yang, Shiyao He, Shimin Lu, Xiaoliang Liao, Yuanyuan Song, Zhi Feng Chen, Guoxia Zhang, Ruijin Li, Chuan Dong, Zenghua Qi*, Zongwei Cai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Benzotriazole and its derivatives (BTRs), classified as high-volume production chemicals, have been widely detected in various environmental media, including the atmosphere, water, soil and dust, as well as organisms. However, studies on the pollution characteristics and health impact of PM2.5 related BTRs are so far limited. This study is the first to demonstrate the regional scale distribution of PM2.5-bound BTRs and their potential cardiotoxicities. Optimized methods of extraction, purification and GC-EI-MS/MS were applied to characterize and analyze PM2.5-bound BTRs from three cities in China during the winter of 2018. The concentration of ∑BTRs in Taiyuan (6.28 ng·m−3) was more than three times that in Shanghai (1.53 ng·m−3) and Guangzhou (1.99 ng·m−3). Benzotriazole (BTR) and 5-methyl-1H-benzotriazole (5TTR) contributed more than 80% of ∑BTRs concentration as the major pollutants among three cities. The correlation analysis indicated that there was a positive correlation between temperature and concentration of BTR and a negative correlation between temperature and concentration of 5TTR. In addition, the risk of BTRs exposure to toddlers should be paid more attention in Taiyuan by the human exposure assessment. Furthermore, toxicity screening by experimental methods indicated that 4-methyl-1H-benzotriazole (4TTR) was the most harmful to cardiomyocytes. The western blot assay showed a ROS-mediated mitochondrial apoptosis signaling pathway was activated after exposure to 4TTR in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCMs). On the other hand, metabolomics revealed that exposure of 4TTR to NRCMs disturbed mitochondrial energy metabolism by disturbing pantothenate and coenzyme A synthesis pathway. Our study not only clarifies the contamination profiles of PM2.5-bound BTRs in typical Chinese cities but also reveals their cardiotoxicities associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151132
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Benzotriazole
  • Cardiotoxicity
  • Exposure risk
  • PM
  • Pollution characteristic


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