PMID: 12666912Apr 2, 2003Paper

Identification and characterization of sorption domains in soil organic matter using strucuturally modified humic acids

Environmental Science & Technology
Amrith S GunasekaraBaoshan Xing


The sorption of phenanthrene was examined in humic acids (HAs) from different sources: a compost, a peat soil, and a mineral soil. Sub-samples of each HA were subjected to bleaching or hydrolysis to remove predetermined chemical groups from their structures. Bleaching successfully removed a large percentage of rigid, aromatic moieties, whereas hydrolysis removed the mobile, carbohydrate components. Phenanthrene sorption by all HAs was nonlinear (N < 1). However, the phenanthrene isotherms of the bleached HAs were more linear than those of the untreated HAs, whereas the removal of the carbohydrate components by hydrolysis produced more nonlinear isotherms. The introduction of pyrene to the phenanthrene sorption system yielded more linear isotherms for all the HAs, indicative of competitive sorption. Proton spin-spin (1H T2) relaxation determined by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) was used to identify separate rigid (condensed) and flexible (expanded) 1H populations and to determine their distribution. These 1H domains were highly sensitive to temperature and correlated well with reported glass transition temperatures for HAs. In combination with the chemical treatments, sorption, and spectroscopic data, we were able to observe ...Continue Reading


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