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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 4, p. 1041-1048
    Received: June 16, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): wajury@mail.ucr.edu
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Characterizing Kinetics of Sequential Selenium Transformation in Soil

  1. Lei Guo,
  2. William A. Jury *,
  3. William T. Frankenberger and
  4. YiQiang Zhang
  1. Department of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0424.



The speciation of selenium (Se) in a Hanford sandy loam was measured as a function of time at two soil water contents under aerobic and anaerobic conditions to evaluate the kinetics of selenium transformation. The stepwise reaction coefficients describing sequential selenium transformation were determined using an inverse method based on a five-compartment model that included selenate, selenite, elemental Se, organic Se, and gaseous Se as the major Se species (or fractions). Transformation of Se was less affected by soil water content at ≥21.5%, but was distinctively faster under anaerobic conditions where O2 was displaced with N2 gas. During the incubation period of 49 to 52 d, between 27.9 and 74.9% of the total selenium, initially present as selenate, was reduced to elemental or organic Se species. Although volatilization of Se required a reduced precursor, the rate of volatilization was not correlated to the rate of reduction. No volatilization of Se was detected under anaerobic conditions, suggesting that O2 was a critical factor controlling the methylation of Se, the reaction that converts nonvolatile Se species into gaseous forms.

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