Investigation of the sorption of 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2) on soils formed under aerobic and anaerobic conditions.


Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Geographical Institute, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Budapest, Hungary; Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Science, Environmental and Landscape Geography, Budapest, Hungary. Electronic address: [Email]


A study was conducted on the sorption of 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2) on five soils formed under different redox conditions: an Arenosol (A_20) with fully aerobic conditions, two Gleysol samples (G_20 and G_40) with suboxic and anoxic conditions and two Histosols (H_20 and H_80) with mostly anoxic conditions. The soils were characterized on the basis of total organic carbon (TOC), specific surface area (SSA) and the Fourier transform infrared spectra of the humic acid and humin fractions (the soil remaining after alkali extraction) of the soil. The maximum adsorption capacity of the soils (Qmax) ranged from 10.7 to 83.6 mg/g in the order G_20 > H_20 > G_40 > A_20 > H_80, which reflected the organic matter content of the soils. The sorption isotherms were found to be nonlinear for all the soil samples, with Freundlich n values of 0.45-0.68. The strong nonlinearity found in the adsorption of the H_80 samples could be attributed to their high hard carbon content, which was confirmed by the high aromaticity of the humin fraction. The maximum sorption capacity (Qmax) of the soils did not increase indefinitely as the organic carbon content of the soils rose. There could be two reasons for this: (i) the large amount of organic matter may reduce the number of binding sites on the surface, and (ii) the decrease in SSA with increasing soil OC content may limit the ability to adsorb EE2 molecules. In anaerobic soil samples, where organic matter accumulation is pronounced, the amount of aromatic and phenolic compounds was higher than in better aerated soil profiles. Strong correlations were found between the amount of aromatic and phenolic compounds in the organic matter and the adsorption of EE2 molecules, indicating that π-π interaction and H-bonding are the dominant sorption mechanisms.

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