Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

Volume 203 of the series Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology pp 1-86


Bioavailability of Xenobiotics in the Soil Environment

  • Arata KatayamaAffiliated withEcoTopia Science Institute, Nagoya University Email author 
  • , Raj BhulaAffiliated withAustralian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
  • , G. Richard BurnsAffiliated withResearch School of Biosciences, University of Kent
  • , Elizabeth CarazoAffiliated withCentro de Investigacion en Contaminacion Ambiental, Universidad de Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria “Rodrigo Facio”
  • , Allan FelsotAffiliated withEntomology/Environmental Toxicology, Washington State University
  • , Denis HamiltonAffiliated withDepartment of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Biosecurity
  • , Caroline HarrisAffiliated withExponent International Ltd
  • , Yong-Hwa KimAffiliated withEnvironmental Toxicology Team, Toxicology Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology
  • , Gijs KleterAffiliated withRIKILT – Institute of Food Safety, Wageningen University and Research Center
    • , Werner KoedelAffiliated withFraunhofer-Institute Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology
    • , Jan LindersAffiliated withNational Institute for Public Health and Environment
    • , J G M. Willie PeijnenburgAffiliated withNational Institute for Public Health and Environment
    • , Aleksandar SabljicAffiliated withInstitute Rudjer Boskovic
    • , R. Gerald StephensonAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph
    • , D. Kenneth RackeAffiliated withDow AgroSciences
    • , Baruch RubinAffiliated withFaculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, RH Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • , Keiji TanakaAffiliated withSankyo Agro Co, Ltd
    • , John UnsworthAffiliated with
    • , R. Donald WauchopeAffiliated withResearch Chemist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service

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When synthetic, xenobiotic compounds such as agrochemicals and industrial chemicals are utilized, they eventually reach the soil environment where they are subject to degradation, leaching, volatilization, sorption, and uptake by organisms. The simplest assumption is that such chemicals in soil are totally available to microorganisms, plant roots, and soil fauna via direct, contact exposure; subsequently these organisms are consumed as part of food web processes and bioaccumulation may occur, increasing exposures to higher organisms up the food chain. However, studies in the last two decades have revealed that chemical residues in the environment are not completely bioavailable, so that their uptake by biota is less than the total amount present in soil (Alexander 1995; Gevao et al. 2003; Paine et al. 1996). Therefore, the toxicity, biodegradability, and efficacy of xenobiotics are dependent on their soil bioavailability, rendering this concept profoundly important to chemical risk assessment and pesticide registration.