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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

Binding of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, aniline, and nitrobenzene to dissolved and particulate soil organic matter

Eriksson J, Frankki S, Shchukarev A, Skyllberg U


The distribution of TNT* (the sum of TNT and its degradation products), aniline, and nitrobenzene between particulate organic matter (POM), dissolved soil organic matter (DOM), and free compound was studied in controlled kinetic (with and without irradiation) and equilibrium experiments with mixtures of POM and DOM reflecting natural situations in organic rich soils. The binding of TNT* to POM was fast, independent of irradiation, and adsorption isotherms had a great linear contribution (as determined by a mixed model), indicative of a hydrophobic partitioning mechanism. The binding of TNT* to DOM was slower, strongly enhanced under nonirradiated conditions, and adsorption isotherms were highly nonlinear, indicative of a specific interaction between TNT derivatives and functional groups of DOM. Nitrobenzene was associated to both POM and DOM via hydrophobic partitioning, whereas aniline binding was dominated by specific binding to POM and DOM functional groups. On the basis of nitrobenzene and TNT* adsorption parameters determined by a mixed Langmuir + linear model, POM had 2-3 times greater density of hydrophobic moieties as compared to DOM. This difference was reflected by a greater (O + N)/C atomic ratio for DOM. The sum of C-C and C-H moieties, as determined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and the sum of aryl-C and alkyl-C, as determined by solid-state cross-polarization magic-angle spinning (CP-MAS) C-13 NMR, could only qualitatively account for differences in adsorption parameters. Aliphatic C was found to be more important for the hydrophobic partitioning than aromatic C. On the basis of nonlinear adsorption parameters,the density of functional groups reactive with aniline and TNT derivatives was 1.3-1.4 times greater in DOM than in POM, which was in fair agreement with 13C NMR and XPS data for the sum of carboxyl and carbonyl groups as potential sites for electrostatic and covalent bonding. We conclude that in contaminated soils characterized by continuous leaching of DOM, formation of TNT derivatives (via biotic and abiotic reductive degradation) and their preference for specific functional groups in DOM may contribute to a significant transportation of potentially toxic TNT compounds into surface waters and groundwaters

Published in

Environmental Science and Technology
2004, Volume: 38, number: 11, pages: 3074-3080

      SLU Authors

    • Frankki, Sofia

      • Department of Forest Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Skyllberg, Ulf

        • Department of Forest Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

      Publication identifier


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