Phenanthrene desorption from soil in the presence of bacterial extracellular polymer: Observations and model predictions of dynamic beheavior

Anbo Liu, Ik Sung Ahn, Christopher Mansfield, Leonard W. Lion, Michael L. Shuler, William C. Ghiorse

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The extracellular polymer produced by a bacterium isolated from soil was employed in laboratory studies of desorption of a model polynuelear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), phenanthrene. The experimental results show that the selected extracellular polymer enhances the extent of release of soil-bound phenanthrene. A kinetic model was developed as an aid in interpreting the alterations in phenanthrene desorption resulting from polymer addition. The model employs a statistical gamma (γ) distribution to describe spectrum of rate constants for transfer of phenanthrene from soil to water, and assumes instantaneous binding of phenanthrene to polymer and of polymer to the test soil. The relevant distribution coefficients and statistical parameters of the γ distribution needed for the model were evaluated in independent experiments. Using these measured parameters, the model provides a satisfactory independent prediction of phenanthrene release from soil to aqueous phase at two test polymer concentrations, 50mgTOC/L and 100mgTOC/L. The success of the independent model predictions suggests a mechanism for the influence of extracellular polymer on phenanthrene desorption. The intrinsic, soil-specific, rate constants for solid to solution transfer of phenanthrene do not appear to be changed by bacterial polymer. Instead, polymer binding of phenanthrene in solution results in an increase in driving force for desorption by decreasing the solution concentration of the free, unbound, PAH molecule. Copyright (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2953
Pages (from-to)835-843
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported under grant (ES05950) administered by the National Institute for Environmental Health Science, NIH with funding provided by EPA.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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