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Polychlorinated Biphenyl Sorption and Availability in Field-Contaminated Sediments

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David WernerORCiD, Sarah Hale, Professor Richard Luthy



Traditional and new relationships of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) distribution among the solid phases, the free aqueous phase, and biolipids are comprehensively reviewed using seven well-characterized freshwater and marine sediments polluted with PCBs. The traditional relationship relating free aqueous concentration and biolipid concentration to sedimenttotal organic carbon, compound octanol-water partitioning coefficient, and solid-phase contaminant concentration overestimates measured free aqueous concentrations and biolipid concentrations by mean factors of 8 and 33, respectively. By contrast relationships based on measured free aqueous phase concentrations or the PCB mass fraction desorbed from sediment provide reasonable predictions of biolipid concentrations. Solid-phase concentration-based predictions perform better when sorption to amorphous organic matter and black carbon (BC) is distinguished. Contrary to previously published relationships, BC sorption appears to be linear for free aqueous PCB-congener concentrations in the picogram to microgram per liter range.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Werner D, Hale SE, Ghosh U, Luthy RG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Science & Technology

Year: 2010

Volume: 44

Issue: 8

Pages: 2809-2815

Print publication date: 01/04/2010

ISSN (print): 0013-936X

ISSN (electronic): 1520-5851

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/es902325t


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Funder referenceFunder name
ER-1552U.S. Department of Defense
ER-1491U.S. Department of Defense
F/00 125/AALeverhulme Trust