PMID: 12026977May 25, 2002Paper

Phenanthrene sorption by aliphatic-rich natural organic matter

Environmental Science & Technology
Myrna J SalloumPatrick G Hatcher


Contaminant sorption, an important process that may limit bioavailability, hinder remediation, encourage environmental persistence, and control mobility in the environment, has been the focus of numerous studies. Despite these efforts, the fundamental understanding of sorptive processes in soil and sedimentary environments has not been resolved. For instance, many have suggested that contaminants, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), solely interact with aromatic domains of organic matter. Until now, studies have neglected the aliphatic components that are known to be a recalcitrant and significant part of soil and sedimentary organic matter (SOM). In this investigation, the sorption of phenanthrene to several aliphatic-rich SOM samples was measured. The samples included the following: SOM precursors (algae, degraded algae, cellulose, collagen, cuticle, and lignin), two kerogen samples, and a highly aromatic humic acid. All samples were characterized by cross polarization magic angle spinning carbon-13 (CPMAS 13C) NMR and carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen analysis. Batch experiments demonstrated that the highest organic carbon normalized sorption coefficients (Koc values) were obtained with the Pula kerogen sample (log...Continue Reading


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