Main content area

Fugacity gradients of hydrophobic organics across the air-water interface measured with a novel passive sampler

Wu, Chen-Chou, Yao, Yao, Bao, Lian-Jun, Wu, Feng-Chang, Wong, Charles S., Tao, Shu, Zeng, Eddy Y.
Environmental pollution 2016 v.218 pp. 1108-1115
DDD (pesticide), air, correlation, half life, hydrophobicity, lakes, liquid-liquid extraction, mass transfer, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatilization, China
Mass transfer of hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs) across the air-water interface is an important geochemical process controlling the fate and transport of HOCs at the regional and global scales. However, few studies have characterized concentration or fugacity profiles of HOCs near both sides of the air-water interface, which is the driving force for the inter-compartmental mass transfer of HOCs. Herein, we introduce a novel passive sampling device which is capable of measuring concentration (and therefore fugacity) gradients of HOCs across the air-water interface. Laboratory studies indicated that the escaping fugacity values of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from water to air were negatively correlated to their volatilization half-lives. Results for field deployment were consistent between the passive sampler and an active method, i.e., a combination of grab sampling and liquid-liquid extraction. In general, the fugacity profiles of detected PAHs were indicative of an accumulation mechanism in the surface microlayer of the study regions (Haizhu Lake and Hailing Bay of Guangdong Province, China), while p,p'-DDD tended to volatilize from water to the atmosphere in Hailing Bay. Furthermore, the fugacity profiles of the target analytes increased towards the air-water interface, reflecting the complexity of environmental behavior of the target analytes near the air-water interface. Overall, the passive sampling device provides a novel means to better characterize the air-water diffusive transfer of HOCs, facilitating the understanding of the global cycling of HOCs.