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From Spill to Sequestration: The Molecular Journey of Contamination via Comprehensive Multiphase NMR

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journal contribution
posted on 15.12.2015, 00:00 by Hussain Masoom, Denis Courtier-Murias, Ronald Soong, Werner E. Maas, Michael Fey, Rajeev Kumar, Martine Monette, Henry J. Stronks, Myrna J. Simpson, André J. Simpson
Comprehensive multiphase NMR is a novel NMR technique that permits all components (solutions, gels, and solids) to be studied in unaltered natural samples. In this study a wide range of CMP-NMR interaction and editing-based experiments are combined to follow contaminants (pentafluorophenol (PFP) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)) from the solution state (after a spill) through the gel-state and finally into the true solid-state (sequestered) in an intact water-swollen soil. Kinetics experiments monitoring each phase illustrate PFOA rapidly transfers from solution to the solid phase while for PFP the process is slower with longer residence times in the solution and gel phase. Interaction-based experiments reveal that PFOA enters the soil via its hydrophobic tails and selectively binds to soil microbial protein. PFP sorption shows less specificity exhibiting interactions with a range of gel and solid soil components with a preference toward aromatics (mainly lignin). The results indicate that in addition to more traditional measurements such as Koc, other factors including the influence of the contaminant on the soil–water interface, specific biological interactions, soil composition (content of lignin, protein, etc.) and physical accessibility/swellability of soil organic components will likely be central to better explaining and predicting the true behavior of contaminants in soil.

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