PMID: 16201609Oct 6, 2005Paper

Extensive sorption of organic compounds to black carbon, coal, and kerogen in sediments and soils: mechanisms and consequences for distribution, bioaccumulation, and biodegradation

Environmental Science & Technology
Gerard CornelissenPaul C M van Noort


Evidence is accumulating that sorption of organic chemicals to soils and sediments can be described by "dual-mode sorption": absorption in amorphous organic matter (AOM) and adsorption to carbonaceous materials such as black carbon (BC), coal, and kerogen, collectively termed "carbonaceous geosorbents" (CG). Median BC contents as a fraction of total organic carbon are 9% for sediments (number of sediments, n approximately 300) and 4% for soils (n = 90). Adsorption of organic compounds to CG is nonlinear and generally exceeds absorption in AOM by a factor of 10-100. Sorption to CG is particularly extensive for organic compounds that can attain a more planar molecular configuration. The CG adsorption domain probably consists of surface sites and nanopores. In this review it is shown that nonlinear sorption to CG can completely dominate total sorption at low aqueous concentrations (<10(-6) of maximum solid solubility). Therefore, the presence of CG can explain (i) sorption to soils and sediments being up to 2 orders of magnitude higher than expected on the basis of sorption to AOM only (i.e., "AOM equilibrium partitioning"), (ii) low and variable biota to sediment accumulation factors, and (iii) limited potential for microbial deg...Continue Reading


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