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Critical evaluation of a new passive exchange-meter for assessing multimedia fate of persistent organic pollutants at the air-soil interface

Liu, Xiang, Ming, Li-Li, Nizzetto, Luca, Borgå, Katrine, Larssen, Thorjørn, Zheng, Qian, Li, Jun, Zhang, Gan
Environmental pollution 2013 v.181 pp. 144-150
air, canopy gaps, forests, hydrophobicity, leaching, organic matter, persistent organic pollutants, soil, volatilization
A new passive exchange meter (PEM) to measure inter-compartment fluxes of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) at the interface between soil and the atmosphere is described. The PEM uses labeled reference compounds (RC) added in-situ to vegetation litter deployed in open cylinders designed to trap the vertical downward export of the RCs while allowing free exchange of POPs between litter and air. Fluxes of native compounds (bulk deposition, volatilization and downward export) are quantitatively tracked. One scope of the PEM is to investigate the influence of biogeochemical controls on contaminant re-mobilization. The PEM performance was tested in a subtropical forest by comparing measurements under dense canopy and in a canopy gap; conditions in which deposition and turn-over of organic matter (OM) occur at different rates. Significant differences in fate processes were successfully detected. Surprisingly, mobilization by leaching of more hydrophobic compounds was higher under canopy, possibly as a result of canopy mediated enhancement of OM degradation.