Determination of Binding Interactions Between Xenobiotic Chemicals and Soil

EPA Grant Number: R826646
Title: Determination of Binding Interactions Between Xenobiotic Chemicals and Soil
Investigators: Bollag, Jean-Marc , Dec, Jerzy
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 1, 1998 through September 30, 2001
Project Amount: $408,775
RFA: Exploratory Research - Environmental Chemistry (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Sustainability , Land and Waste Management , Air , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry


Immobilization phenomena occurring in soil are of great environmental importance because they may lead to a considerable reduction in the bioavailability and to the degradation of organic pollutants. To date, the three known mechanisms of contaminant immobilization (sorption, sequestration, and covalent binding), although concurrent, have mostly been studied separately. In this project, a novel, integrated approach is applied in order to expand on both the amount and quality of data available for predicting contaminant fate, estimating environmental risk, and suggesting remediation or prevention options.

The research will be carried out using 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), anthracene, and 2,4- dichlorophenol as the representatives of nitroaromatic compounds, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and chlorinated phenols, which are widespread soil contaminants. First, the research will focus on batch equilibrium experiments involving either short (less than one day) or long (up to 2.5 years) contact times between contaminants and soil.


Using the above mentioned setup, it will be possible to distinguish between sorption and sequestration based on the adsorption/desorption kinetics and on the properties of the respective adsorption isotherms as they change with the contact time. Further studies will involve 13C- and/or 15N-labeled pollutants, which will be incubated in soil (up to 2.5 years) to investigate the sequestered and/or covalently bound material. Finally, after exhaustive extraction with organic solvents, fractionation, and derivatization, soil samples will be analyzed by 13C or 15N NMR spectroscopy and other methods to determine the retention sites, chemical character of the retained compounds, and the nature of bonds formed.

Expected Results:

Despite the obvious progress in research on pesticide binding, the complex and heterogeneous structure of soil organic matter continues to be a major obstacle in obtaining a better knowledge of the concurrent immobilization mechanisms. Our proposal is based on the assumption that new breakthroughs in this area can be achieved by systematic application of the above described analytical techniques and experimental approaches. This project should set a standard for future research on contaminants that are immobilized in soil.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 6 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

risk assessment, ecological effects, chemicals, toxic substances, bound residues, aging in soil, terrestrial system, soil organic matter, pollution prevention, cleanup, detoxification, environmental chemistry, analytical methods., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Bioavailability, Contaminated Sediments, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Chemical Mixtures - Environmental Exposure & Risk, pesticides, Fate & Transport, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Risk Assessment, fate and transport, risk assessment, sediment treatment, degradation of organic pollutants, contaminant transport, xenobiotics, hydrocarbon, sediment transport, contaminated sediment, sorbed contaminants, chemical contaminants, PAH, chemical transport, ecological assessment, chemical kinetics, assessment methods

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • Final Report