Sorption of aromatic organic pollutants to grasses from water

Jason P. Barbour, James A. Smith, Cary T. Chiou

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46 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of plant lipids on the equilibrium sorption of three aromatic solutes from water was studied. The plant-water sorption isotherms of benzene, 1,2-dichlorobenzene, and phenanthrene were measured over a large range of solute concentrations using sealed vessels containing water, dried plant material, and solute. The plant materials studied include the shoots of annual rye, tall fescue, red fescue, and spinach as well as the roots of annual rye. Seven out of eight sorption isotherms were linear with no evidence of competitive effects between the solutes. For a given plant type, the sorption coefficient increased with decreasing solute water solubility. For a given solute, sorption increased with increasing plant lipid content. The estimated lipid-water partition coefficients of individual solutes were found to be significantly greater than the corresponding octanol-water partition coefficients. This indicates that plant lipids are a more effective partition solvent than octanol for the studied aromatic compounds. As expected, the solute lipid-water partition coefficients were log-linearly related to the respective water solubilities. For the compounds studied, partitioning into the lipids is believed to be the primary sorption mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8369-8373
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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