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J Hazard Mater. 2007 Jan 10;139(2):363-72. Epub 2006 Jun 16.

Modification of clay barriers with a cationic surfactant to improve the retention of pesticides in soils.

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  • 1Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Salamanca, CSIC, Salamanca, Spain.


In this work, the efficiency of reactive clay barriers in the immobilisation of organic pesticides in a sandy soil was studied. Reactive barriers were prepared by modification of montmorillonite, kaolinite and palygorskite clay minerals, and of a clayey soil with the cationic surfactant octadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (ODTMA). Percolation curves of the pesticides linuron, atrazine and metalaxyl of different hydrophobic character, were obtained in columns packed with a natural sandy soil with these barriers intercalated under saturated flow conditions. The cumulative curves in the unmodified soil indicated a leaching of pesticides greater than 85% of the total amount of compound added. After barrier intercalation, the breakthrough curves (BTC) indicated a dramatic decrease in the amounts of linuron leached in all columns and a significant modification of the leaching kinetics of atrazine and metalaxyl. Retardation factors, R, of the pesticides in the columns were significantly correlated with the organic matter content (OM) derived from the ODTMA of the organo clay/soil barriers (r2>or=0.78). Significant correlations were also found between these R factors and the pore volume values corresponding to the maximum peaks of the BTCs (r2=0.83; p<0.01) or the total volumes leached (r2=0.44; p<0.05) for the pesticides atrazine and metalaxyl. The results obtained point to the interest in the use of reactive clay barriers for almost complete immobilisation of hydrophobic pesticides or for decreasing the leaching of moderately hydrophobic pesticides coming from point-like sources of pollution. These barriers would avoid the generation of elevated concentrations of these compounds in the soils due to their rapid washing.

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