National Research Program

Environmental Dynamics of Persistent Organic Compounds

Many persistent organic compounds are hazardous to human and ecological health. The transport characteristics of these compounds across environmental phases are strongly influenced by adsorption and partition interactions with the individual phases. Quantification of process rates and partition constants of organic pollutants in air, water, soil, and biota is an important step in defining the level of organic contaminants in environmental systems and their potential impact on environmental quality. Project objectives are to delineate and quantify processes affecting the movement and distribution of persistent organic compounds in hydrogeologic systems. Specifically: (1) determine the sorptive capacity of soil and sediment for organic compounds in air and water; (2) identify the roles of soil and sediment organic matter, mineral components, and moisture in sorption of organic compounds; (3) establish the physical basis of bioconcentration and lipophilicity of organic compounds; and (4) characterize the effect of dissolved organic matter on the solubility and mobility of organic contaminants in natural water.


  • Hung, H.-W. , Lin, T.-F. , and Chiou, C.T., 2011, Reply to comment on partition coefficients of organic contaminants with carbohydrates: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 45, no. 3, p. 1159.

    Hung, H.-W. , Lin, T.-F. , and Chiou, C.T., 2010, Partition coefficients of organic contaminants with carbohydrates: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 44, no. 14, p. 5430-5436. (on-line abstract of journal article)

    Hung, H.-W., Sheng, G.D., Lin, T.-F., Su, Y. , and Chiou, C.T., 2009, The organic contamination level based on the total soil mass is not a proper index of the soil contamination intensity: Environmental Pollution, v. 157, no. 11, p. 2928-2932. (on-line abstract of journal article)

    Su, Y., Yang, X., and Chiou, C.T., 2008, Effect of rhizosphere on soil microbial community and in-situ pyrene biodegradation: Frontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering in China, v. 2, no. 4, p. 468-474. (on-line abstract of journal article)

    Su, Yu-Hong, Zhu, Yong-Guan, Sheng, Guangyao, and Chiou, C.T., 2006, Linear adsorption of nonionic organic compounds from water onto hydrophilic minerals: Silica and Alumina: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 40, no. 22, p. 6949-6954. (on-line abstract of journal article)

    Chiou, C.T., Schmedding, D.W., and Manes, M., 2005, Improved prediction of octanol--water partition coefficients from liquid--solute water solubilities and molar volumes: Environmental Science & Technology, v. 39, p. 8840-8846. (on-line abstract of journal article)

    James, G., Sabatini, D.A., Chiou, C.T., Rutherford, D., Scott, A.C., Karapanagioti, H.K., 2005, Evaluating phenanthrene sorption on various wood chars: Water Research, v. 39, no. 4, p. 549-558. (on-line abstract of journal article)

    Li, H., Sheng, g., Chiou, C.T., and Xu, O., 2005, Relation of organic contaminant equilibrium and kinetic uptake in plants: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 39, no. 13, p. 4864–4870. (on-line abstract of journal article)

    Chun, Y., Sheng, G., and Chiou, C.T., 2004, Evaluation of current techniques for isolation of chars as natural adsorbents: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 38, no. 15, p. 4227-4232.

    Chun, Y., Sheng, G., Chiou, C.T., and Xing, B., 2004, Compositions and sorptive properties of crop residue-derived chars: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 38, no. 17, p. 4649 - 4655.

    Lee, J.-F., Chao, H.-P., Chiou, C.T., and Manes, M., 2004, Turbulence effects on volatilization rates of liquids and solutes: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 38, no. 16, p. 4327 - 4333.

    Rutherford, D.W.; Wershaw, R.L.; Cox, L.G., 2004, Changes in composition and porosity occurring during the thermal degradation of wood and wood components: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigation Report 2004-5292, 88 p. (on-line report)

    Bednar, A.J., Garbarino, J.R., Ferrer, I., Rutherford, D.W., Wershaw, R.L., Ranville, J.F., and Wildeman, T.R., 2003, Photodegradation of roxarsone in poultry litter leachates: The Science of the Total Environment, v. 302, p. 237-245. (on-line abstract)

    Garbarino, J.R., Bednar, A.J., Rutherford, D.W., Beyer, R.S., and Wershaw, R.L., 2003, Environmental fate of Roxarsone in poultry litter. I. Degradation of Roxarsone during composting: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 37, no. 8, p. 1509-1514. (on-line abstract)

    Rutherford, D.W., Bednar, A.J., Garbarino, J.R., Needham, R.,. Staver, K.W., and Wershaw , R.L., 2003, Environmental fate of Roxarsone in poultry litter. Part II. Mobility of arsenic in soils amended with poultry litter: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 37, no. 8, p. 1515-1520. (on-line abstract)

    Wershaw, R.L., Rutherford, D.W., Leenheer, J.A., Kennedy, K.R., Cox, L.G., and Koci, D.R., 2003, Biogeochemical processes that produce dissolved organic matter from wheat straw: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigation Report 03-4213. (on-line abstract or report)

    Wershaw, R.L., Rutherford, D.W., Rostad, C.E., Garbarino, J.R., Ferrer, I., Kennedy, K.R., Momplaisir, G., Grange, A., 2003, Mass spectrometric identification of an azobenzene derivative produced by smectite-catalyzed conversion of 3-amino-4-hydroxyphenylar-sonic acid: Talanta, v. 59, no. 6, p. 1219-1226. (on-line abstract)

    Zhu, L., Chen, B., Tao, S., and Chiou, C.T., 2003, Interactions of organic contaminants with mineral-absorbed surfactants: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 37, no. 17, p. 4001-4006.

    Chiou, C.T., 2002, Partition and Adsorption of Organic Contaminants in Environmental Systems: New York, Wiley Books, 257 p. (on-line information and table of contents)

    Cary T. Chiou, Scientist Emeritus
    U.S. Geological Survey, MS 408, Box 25406 Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO, 80225
    Telephone: 303-236-3967

    For information on additional projects in the National Research Program, see Indexes to NRP projects and bibliographies.

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