Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 411–415 | Cite as

Rapid incorporation and short-term distribution of a nonylphenol isomer and the herbicide MCPA in soil-derived organo-clay complexes

  • Patrick Riefer
  • Timm Klausmeyer
  • Jan SchwarzbauerEmail author
  • Andreas Schäffer
  • Burkhard Schmidt
  • Phillipe F. X. Corvini
Original Paper


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.


Soil Organo-clay complexes MCPA Nonylphenol Bound residues 14C-labeled compounds 



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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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Riefer
    • 1
  • Timm Klausmeyer
    • 2
  • Jan Schwarzbauer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreas Schäffer
    • 2
  • Burkhard Schmidt
    • 2
  • Phillipe F. X. Corvini
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Geology and Geochemistry of Petroleum and CoalRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental Biology and ChemodynamicsRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  3. 3.Institute for EcopreneurshipUniversity of Applied Science Northwestern SwitzerlandMuttenzSwitzerland

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