The sorption of phenanthrene (PHN) to relatively pure soil humic acids (HAs) was investigated to assess the suitability of the soil HA as a surrogate sorbent for the soil organic matter (SOM). The HAs were prepared in both freeze-dried and air-dried forms. The two forms of HAs from the same source are similar in composition but the freeze-dried HAs exhibit a significantly higher initial surface area (SA) (3.86-4.59 m 2/g); the SAs of air-dried HAs are below 0.1 m 2/g. However, the SAs of freeze-dried HAs are not stable upon contact with water; the samples lose practically all the SA after 4 days of immersion in water. The PHN sorption to both forms of HAs is practically linear, whether a co-solute is present or not. The sorption linearity observed with the present freeze-dried HAs is in sharp contrast with the allegedly nonlinear PHN sorption on similar freeze-dried HAs as presented by others.
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