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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 3, p. 906-916
    Received: Mar 29, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): koegel@weihenstephan.de
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Desorption of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Soil in the Presence of Dissolved Organic Matter: Effect of Solution Composition and Aging

  1. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner *,
  2. Kai U. Totsche and
  3. Bernd Raber
  1. L ehrstuhl für Bodenkunde, Technische Universität München, D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany;
    A bt. Bodenphysik, Universität Bayreuth, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany;
    G eologisches Landesamt NRW, Postfach 1080, D-47710 Krefeld, Germany.



The effect of dissolved organic matter (DOM) on the desorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from soil was studied with 14C-benzo[a]pyrene and 14C-pyrene in different soil-aqueous solution systems and after prolonged periods of aging (110 and 216 d). The desorption of 14C-benzo[a]pyrene and 14C-pyrene was strongly affected by the composition and properties of the aqueous phase. Desorption linearly increased with increasing DOM concentrations. Distribution coefficients (log Koc′) for the desorption of 14C-labeled PAHs were about 3.5 (pyrene) and 25 (benzo[a]pyrene) times lower in the presence of DOM. The enhancement of PAH desorption between various types of DOM is controlled by the molecular weight distribution of DOM. Dissolved organic matter with a high proportion of high molecular weight components (>14 000 dalton) has a high affinity for PAHs and thus is more effective in desorbing PAHs from soil. In addition, the desorption of PAHs from soil is controlled by the time elapsed since contamination. In the first 36 d following contamination with 14C-benzo[a]pyrene, a decrease of the PAH concentration that could be desorbed in the solution phase was observed. The desorbable fraction did not show any further changes for up to 183 d after contamination, suggesting a fraction of PAH that is not or very slowly desorbing from soil. The major proportion (>98%) of the desorbable PAH-fraction is apparently bound at sites that show a rate-limited release of PAHs. This is corroborated by the model discrimination conducted with three different models, which favors a two-site equilibrium-nonequilibrium model.

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