Organo-clay complexes in soil are a major sink for xenobiotics and, thus, often enhance their persistence dramatically. However, the knowledge on environmental processes of non-extractable residue formation on a short time scale is very restricted. Therefore, this study examined the distribution of 4-(3,5-dimethylhept-3-yl)phenol (NP) and 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA) in soil over a short time period of 48 h and in different soil sub-fractions. The overall proportion of organo-clay-associated bound residues was not only abundant but also in the same range for both substances (MCPA: 8%; NP: 11% of applied 14C-radioactivity). However, a more detailed view revealed two different distribution patterns: a higher proportion of clay-associated NP was accompanied by a lower content of bound residues, whereas a smaller fraction of clay-associated MCPA was characterized by a higher proportion of non-extractable residues. Further on, a selective accumulation of bound residues among clay-associated humic fractions was observed. NP residues were linked predominantly to humic acids, whereas MCPA residues tended to be incorporated more into fulvic acids. It was evident that the overall distribution was influenced primarily by the physico-chemical properties of the contaminants. This study demonstrates in detail a rapid initial incorporation accompanied by a specific distribution into soil sub-fractions for selected xenobiotics in soil and points to a complex interaction of clay-associated organic matter with low molecular weight compounds.
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Financial support by the German research foundation (DFG, grant no. SCHW750-9, SCHA390-12) in the frame of the SPP 1315 is gratefully acknowledged.
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