Partition coefficients of organic contaminants with carbohydrates

Hsu Wen Hung, Tsair Fuh Lin, Cary T. Chiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In view of the current lack of reliable partition coefficients for organic compounds with carbohydrates (Kch), carefully measured values with cellulose and starch, the two major forms of carbohydrates, are provided for a wide range of compounds: short-chain chlorinated hydrocarbons, halogenated benzenes, alkyl benzenes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls, and organochlorine pesticides. To ensure the accuracy of the Kch data, solute concentrations in both water and carbohydrate phases are measured by direct solvent extraction of the samples. For a given compound, the observed partition coefficient with cellulose (K cl) is virtually the same as that with starch (Kst). This finding expedites the evaluation of organic contamination with different forms of carbohydrates. The presently determined Kch values of 13 PAHs are substantially lower (by 3-66 times) than the literature data; the latter are suspect as they were obtained with (i) presumably impure carbohydrate samples or (ii) indirectly measured equilibrium solute concentrations in carbohydrate and water phases. Although the Kch values are generally considerably lower than the respective Kow (octanol-water) or Klipid (lipid-water), accurate Kch data are duly required to accurately estimate the contamination of carbohydrates by organic compounds because of the abundance of carbohydrates over lipids in crops and plants. To overcome the current lack of reliable Kch data for organic compounds, a close correlation of log Kch with log Kow has been established for predicting the unavailable Kch data for low-polarity compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5430-5436
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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