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Sorption comparison between phenanthrene and its degradation intermediates, 9,10-phenanthrenequinone and 9-phenanthrol in soils/sediments

Xiao, Di, Pan, Bo, Wu, Min, Liu, Ying, Zhang, Di, Peng, Hongbo
Chemosphere 2012 v.86 no.2 pp. 183-189
carbon, environmental fate, phenanthrene, physicochemical properties, risk, risk assessment, sediments, soil, sorption, surface area
The degradation intermediates of phenanthrene (PHE) may have increased health risks to organisms than PHE. Therefore, environmental fate and risk assessment studies should take into considerations of PHE degradation products. This study compared the sorption properties of PHE and its degradation intermediates, 9,10-phenanthrenequinone (PQN) and 9-phenanthrol (PTR) in soils, sediments and soil components. A relationship between organic carbon content (fOC) and single-point sorption coefficient (logKd) was observed for all three chemicals in 10 soils/sediments. The large intercept in the logfOC−logKd regression for PTR indicated that inorganic fractions control PTR sorption in soils/sediments. No relationship between specific surface area and Kd was observed. This result indicated that determination of surface area based on gas sorption could not identify surface properties for PHE, PQN, and PTR sorption and thus provide limit information on sorption mechanisms. The high sorption and strong nonlinearity (low n values) of PTR in comparison to PHE suggested that the mobility of PTR could be lower than PHE. Increased mobility of PQN compared with PHE may be expected in soils/sediments because of PQN lower sorption. The varied sorption properties of the three chemicals suggested that their environmental risks should be assessed differently.