Background: Organophosphates form the basis of many well-known insecticides, herbicides, drugs and nerve agents. Since they belong to the most pervasive
synthetic chemicals, a highly efficient method for their degradation has been searched
Methods: Recently, an efficient microwave-assisted hydrolysis of phosphonate diesters to the corresponding phosphonic
acids has been developed. This novel method, employing inexpensive aqueous hydrochloric acid, has been used to study
hydrolytic degradation of organophosphates.
Results: The course of the hydrolysis under microwave irradiation was studied on diethyl chlorophosphate, diisopropyl
chlorophosphate and paraoxon as model compounds. Subsequently, the complete hydrolysis to benign phosphoric acid
has been demonstrated on 20 toxic organophosphates.
Conclusion: The described methodology represents an efficient and environmentally friendly procedure for the degradation
of toxic organophosphates with wide range of possible applications, including water detoxification and purification.