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Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Feb 15;40(4):1307-13.

Freely dissolved concentrations of PAHs in soil pore water: measurements via solid-phase extraction and consequences for soil tests.

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IRAS, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 2, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Freely dissolved pore water concentrations are difficult to assess in complex matrixes such as soils or sediments. In this study, a negligible-depletion partitioning-based sampling technique was applied to measure freely dissolved pore water concentrations. A poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)-coated glass fiber was exposed to a slurry of a soil spiked with several PAHs at concentrations ranging from 2 to 2000 mg/kg. PAH-concentrations in the PDMS coating increased linearly with the total soil concentration until a certain maximum was reached. Freely dissolved pore water concentrations were calculated using PDMS-water partition coefficients, and the calculated maximum pore water concentrations corresponded with the aqueous solubility of the tested compounds. Furthermore, the sampling technique is very sensitive because it can detect freely dissolved pore water concentrations in the ng/L range for the tested PAHs. Freely dissolved pore water concentrations are an important parameter for the exposure of organisms in soil. Saturation of the pore water with increasing soil concentrations should therefore be considered in soil toxicity testing. Sorption coefficients that were calculated from freely dissolved concentrations were slightly higher than estimates based on octanol-water partition coefficients. These differences are discussed in relation to the effects of dissolved organic matter in soil pore water on the determination of sorption coefficients.

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