Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 16, pp 15971–15979 | Cite as

Characterization and phenanthrene sorption of organic matter fractions isolated from organic and mineral soils

  • Huilan Shi
  • Shihai Zhu
  • Youming Qiao
  • Wei Wang
  • Jianjun Shi
  • Xilai Li
  • Wenhao Pang
Research Article


Sorption of phenanthrene (PHE) to humic acid (HA) and humin (HM) fractions isolated from organic and mineral soils was investigated to better understand sorption processes in varying soil types. Samples were characterized by elemental analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, 13C nuclear magnetic resonance, and CO2 adsorption. No clear correlation was found between the distribution coefficient (Kd) and the bulk polarity of the soil organic matters (SOMs). By contrast, PHE Kd values generally increased with increasing surface polarity of the tested SOMs, implying that surface polarity may play a more important role in PHE sorption than the bulk one. The organic carbon (OC)-normalized Kd values (Koc) of HMs were higher than those of HAs as a result of the higher aliphatic C contents of HMs. For SOMs isolated from mineral soil (MI-SOMs), part of the aliphatic domains may be tightly associated with minerals and were not accessible to PHE molecules, resulting in lower PHE Koc values of MI-SOMs than the corresponding fractions extracted from the organic soil. This study implies that both chemical characteristics and physical conformation of SOMs are paramount considerations when investigating sorption process of hydrophobic organic compounds in soils.


Sorption Phenanthrene Soil organic matter Surface polarity Mineral Physical conformation 


Funding information

This work was supported by the International Cooperation Project of Qinghai Province National Science Foundation (2017-HZ-810), Changjiang Scholar Program and Innovative Research Team Building, MOE (IRT_17R62), Ministry of science and technology key research and development projects (2017YFC0504803), and The National Natural Science Funds Fund (no. 31760691). This study is finished in the State Key Laboratory of Plateau Ecology and Agriculture (Qinghai University), thanks for providing the testing facility and accessories in the laboratory measurements.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1814_MOESM1_ESM.docx (92 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 91kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Eco-environmental EngineeringQinghai UniversityXiningChina
  2. 2.School of EnvironmentTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Animal Science and Veterinary MedicineQinghai UniversityXiningChina
  4. 4.College of Agriculture and Animal HusbandryQinghai UniversityXiningChina

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