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Abbreviation for methyl-tert-butyl ether.
A volatile, flammable, and colourless octane-boosting aliphatic ether which is added to reformulated gasoline to help it burn cleaner. While it is not listed by the IARC/WHO as a carcinogen, it imparts an unpleasant taste to water at very low concentrations (5–15µg/l) and persists in groundwater. It is biodegraded by bacteria and can be removed by a fluidised bed bioreactor or activated carbon.
MTBE rapidly dissolves cholesterol stones in vivo, introduced under local anaesthesia via a percutaneous transhepatic cholecystectomy catheter as a non-invasive method for treating gallstones. After injection, the dissolved cholesterol is drained from the bladder. MTBE stone dissolution is effective if the patients are selected for cholesterol stones; it is improved and accelerated by adding transcutaneous ultrasound.
Nausea, vomiting, bile leakage, drowsiness, transient increase of liver enzymes, anorexia, hypotension.