Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 12456–12466 | Cite as

Sulfadimethoxine transport in soil columns in relation to sorbable and non-sorbable tracers

  • Jong Yol Park
  • Bernd Huwe
Research Article


In this study, miscible displacement experiment and batch sorption experiments were performed with sulfadimethoxine, dye tracer, Brilliant Blue FCF (BB) and a conservative tracer (bromide) to depict, analyse and interpret transport paths of sulfadimethoxine in undisturbed and disturbed soil columns. Batch sorption experiment revealed that sorption potential increased in the order: Brilliant Blue FCF > sulfadimethoxine > bromide. The horizontal spatial patterns of sulfadimethoxine and the tracers were analysed in each depth, and selective samples were taken in horizontal cross-section. Non-adsorbable and conservative tracer, bromide spread more widely into longitudinal and horizontal direction than sulfadimethoxine and Brilliant Blue FCF, since adsorption reduced transversal dispersion of the sulfadimethoxine and dye. In non-stained area, residual concentrations of sulfadimethoxine were relatively lower than in stained areas. Therefore, Brilliant Blue FCF distribution can be used to approximate sulfadimethoxine movement in soil. However, presence of preferential flow networks found in undisturbed soil cores can enhance mobility of sulfadimethoxine and the tracers, due to faster flow velocities and non-equilibrium adsorption. Our findings showed that other dye tracers may also be applicable to identify transport pathways of various organic contaminants, of which physico-chemical properties are similar to those of the dye tracers. Preferential flow should be considered for drinking water managements and transport modelling, since this allows faster pollutants transport from their sources, and create critical consequences for groundwater quality and solute transport modelling.


Sulfadimethoxine Pollutant transport Tracers Preferential flow 



Residual water content


Saturated water content


Hydraulic conductivity


Inverse of the air entry suction


Measure of the pore-size distribution


Linear adsorption coefficient


Freundlich adsorption coefficient


Adsorption intensity


Correlation coefficient




Brilliant Blue FCF



This study was supported by the Complex Terrain and Ecological Heterogeneity Project (TERRECO, WP 2-11) and DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) scholarship programme for doctoral candidates. We would like to acknowledge the International Environmental Analysis and Education Center (IEAEC) in Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) for support of the sulfonamide analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Soil Physics Group, Division of GeoscienceUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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