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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Vadose Zone Processes and Chemical Transport

Polyacrylamide Distribution in Columns of Organic Matter–Removed Soils following Surface Application


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 2, p. 674-680
    Received: Apr 26, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): laowu@mail.ucr.edu
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  1. Jianhang Lu and
  2. Laosheng Wu *
  1. Department of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521


Knowledge of how polyacrylamide (PAM) penetrates and distributes in a soil profile after application in irrigation water is important for understanding PAM conditioning depth and evaluating its environmental effects. Little is known, however, about PAM distribution in soil because of the difficulty in quantifying PAM content in natural soils. By using a recently modified substrate-borne PAM quantification method, PAM distribution in columns of organic matter–removed soils was determined. Results showed that penetration of PAM into the soil was affected by salt level of irrigation water, soil texture, initial soil water content, water application method, and other factors. Polyacrylamide penetration depth was about one-eighth to one-half of the water penetration depth, with a particularly high PAM retention in the top few centimeters of the soil. Under different experimental conditions, the PAM retained in the top 0 to 2 cm of soil ranged from 16 to 95% of the total applied amount. More favorable solution–soil contact conditions, longer solution–soil contact time, and lower initial soil moisture caused much more PAM retention in the top few centimeters of the soil. High sorptive affinity of PAM on soil is the main reason for its low penetration into the soil. Although these results were not obtained from natural soils, they are still helpful in improving our understanding of PAM transport behavior in soils.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.32:674–680.