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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Effect of pH, surface charge and soil properties on the solid-solution partitioning of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in a wide range of temperate soils

Campos-Pereira, Hugo; Kleja, Dan B.; Ahrens, Lutz; Enell, Anja; Kikuchi, Johannes; Pettersson, Michael; Gustafsson, Jon Petter


The pH-dependent soil-water partitioning of six perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) of environmental concern (PFOA, PFDA, PFUnDA, PFHxS, PFOS and FOSA), was investigated for 11 temperate mineral soils and related to soil properties such as organic carbon content (0.2-3%), concentrations of Fe and Al (hydr)oxides, and texture. PFAS sorption was positively related to the perfluorocarbon chain length of the molecule, and inversely related to solution pH for all substances. The negative slope between log Kd and pH became steeper with increasing perfluorocarbon chain length of the PFAS (r2 = 0.75, p <= 0.05). Organic carbon (OC) alone was a poor predictor of the partitioning for all PFASs, except for FOSA (r2 = 0.71), and the OC-normalized PFAS partitioning, as derived from organic soil materials, underestimated PFAS sorption to the soils. Multiple linear regression suggested sorption contributions (p <= 0.05) from OC for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and FOSA, and Fe/Al (hydr) oxides for PFOS, FOSA, and perfluorodecanoate (PFDA). FOSA was the only substance under study for which there was a statistically significant correlation between its binding and soil texture (silt + clay). To predict PFAS sorption, the surface net charge of the soil organic matter fraction of all soils was calculated using the Stockholm Humic Model. When calibrated against charge-dependent PFAS sorption to a peat (Oe) material, the derived model significantly underestimated the measured Kd values for 10 out of 11 soils. To conclude, additional


PFOS; PFOA; Sorption; Binding; Organic matter; Geochemical modeling

Published in

2023, Volume: 321, article number: 138133