Chen, X., Dai, Y., Zhao, M., Löffler, F. E., & Zhuang, J.
Hydrology is a key factor influencing microbial degradation of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) in soils, but the underlying mechanisms are not clear. In this study, biotic and abiotic column experiments were performed to investigate the removal and degradation of five EOCs in soils with different soil organic matter (SOM) contents under saturated and unsaturated flow conditions. In biotic experiments, 54–90% of bisphenol A (BPA) and 9–22% of ibuprofen (IBU) were removed from the aqueous phase of saturated columns due to adsorption and biodegradation. The biodegradation removed 26–65% of BPA and 1–22% of IBU. Decreasing soil pore water saturation from 100 to 80% increased BPA removal to 97–100% and IBU removal to 42–43% due to increased biodegradation (67–81% for BPA and 36–39% for IBU). No significant removal of BPA and IBU was observed in SOM-removed soils under saturated and unsaturated flow conditions. The desaturation did not influence sorptive losses of BPA (<27%) and IBU (<7%), suggesting their negligible adsorption at air–water interfaces but increased biodegradation of BPA and IBU sorbed at SOM- water interfaces. The study shows that soil drying and SOM can synergistically degrade BPA and IBU but have no effect on recalcitrant carbamazepine, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin.
Chen, X., Dai, Y., Zhao, M., Löffler, F. E., & Zhuang, J. (2022). Hydrobiological Mechanism Controlling the Synergistic Effects of Unsaturated Flow and Soil Organic Matter on the Degradation of Emerging Organic Contaminants in Soils. Environmental Science & Technology. doi:10.1021/acs.est.2c03013