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Review Article
1 November 1989

Adsorption of organic chemicals in soils.

Publication: Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 83
Pages 145 - 177


This paper presents a review on adsorption of organic chemicals on soils sediments and their constituents. The first part of this review deals with adsorption from gas and liquid phases and gives a discussion on the physical meaning of the shape of adsorption isotherms. Results show that no general rules can be proposed to describe univocally the relation between the shape of isotherms and the nature of adsorbate-adsorbent system. Kinetics of adsorption is discussed through the description of various models. Theoretical developments exist both for the thermodynamics and the kinetics of adsorption, but there is a strong need for experimental results. Possible adsorption mechanisms are ion exchange, interaction with metallic cations, hydrogen bonds, charge transfers, and London-van der Waals dispersion forces/hydrophobic effect. However, direct proofs of a given mechanism are rare. Several factors influence adsorption behavior. Electronic structure of adsorbed molecules, properties of adsorbents, and characteristics of the liquid phase are discussed in relation to adsorption. Such properties as water solubility, organic carbon content of adsorbing materials, and the composition of the liquid phase are particularly important. Evaluation of adsorption can be obtained through either laboratory measurements or use of several correlations. Adsorption measurements must be interpreted, taking into account treatment of adsorbent materials, experimental conditions, and secondary phenomena such as degradations. Correlations between adsorption coefficients and water-octanol partition coefficient or water solubility are numerous. They may be useful tools for prediction purposes. Relations with transport, bioavailability, and degradation are described.

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Published In

Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 83November 1989
Pages: 145 - 177
PubMed: 2695323


Published online: 1 November 1989



R Calvet
Institut National Agronomique, Paris-Grignon, France.

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