Prediction of Apolar Compound Sorption to Aquatic Natural Organic Matter Accounting for Natural Organic Matter Hydrophobicity Using Aqueous Two-Phase Systems

Environmental Science & Technology
Kun LiuXiaolei Qu


The equilibrium partitioning of organic compounds to natural organic matter (NOM) plays a key role in their environmental fate as well as bioavailability. In this study, a prediction model for organic compound sorption to NOM was theoretically derived based on two-phase systems. In this model, the hydrophobicity of NOM was scaled by their partition coefficients in an aqueous two-phase system (KATPS) and that of organics was scaled by their octanol-water partition coefficients (KOW). The model uses only KATPS and KOW as variables. Coefficients in the model were determined using a data set including the organic carbon-water partition coefficient (KOC) of four polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) sorption to 10 NOM samples collected from surface waters. The resulting model was validated using additional NOM samples and reference NOM, which suggested good prediction power for PAH sorption to aquatic NOM. The model performance was compared with commonly used linear free energy relationship models, and its applicability was discussed. Sorption behavior unexpected by this model is attributed to additional sorption mechanisms other than partitioning. Overall, this approach allows prediction of KOC for apolar organic compound sorptio...Continue Reading


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