PCM sorption among bulk soils and different aggregate fractions
Good correlations have been observed
between the SOM content and the sorption of many pesticides
Good correlations have been observed
between the SOM content and the sorption of many pesticides
The partition theory assumed that Koc value was generally constant for a particular chemical sorption on different soils where sorption is related to the ‘quantity’ of TOC in the soil. While the result shown that the Koc value varied greatly among all soils. The Koc value range from 185 L·g− 1 to 815 L·g− 1 for HHCB and 152 L·g− 1 to 822 L·g− 1 for AHTN among six bulk soils. The bulk soil 5 had the highest Koc values and the Koc value were lowest in bulk soil 2 (Fig. 1). Additionally, the Koc variation was also large in different aggregates fractions of soils for both two PCMs. The obtained Koc value in < 1 µm aggregates fractions spread out in a wide range: 227 L·g− 1 to 895 L·g− 1 for HHCB; and 258 L·g− 1 to 819 L·g− 1 for AHTN. In 1–5 µm aggregates fractions, the Koc value range from 147 L·g− 1 to 450 L·g− 1 for HHCB; and 148 L·g− 1 to 280 L·g− 1 for AHTN. The Koc value range from 126 L·g− 1 to 291 L·g− 1 for HHCB and 148 L·g− 1 to 311 L·g− 1 for AHTN in 5–50 µm aggregates fractions. In 50–200 µm aggregates fractions, the Koc value range from 53 L·g− 1 to 343 L·g− 1 for HHCB and 51 L·g− 1 to 236 L·g− 1 for AHTN.
Some studies showed that sorption was highest at the smaller soil fractions (< 2 µm) due to their higher specific surface area and the presence of more humified organic material (Liu et al. 2010, Wang and Keller 2009, De Jonge et al. 2000). However, in the present study, the greatest Koc values did not always occur in the smaller soil fractions (< 1 µm aggregates fractions). The bulk soil and the 5–50 µm aggregates fractions also yielded the largest Koc values under specific soil conditions (e.g., with bulk soil in soil 3, soil 5 and soil 6, and the 5–50 µm aggregates fraction in soil 2 for both HHCB and AHTN). The 50–200 µm aggregates fraction in all soils had the smallest Koc except soil 5. There was a significant difference in the Koc value of the same soil with different aggregates fractions. Some studies explained this phenomenon that different humic fractions from the same soil may resulted in different Koc values (Kang and Xing 2005, Gunasekara and Xing 2003, Mao et al. 2002).
Based on the distribution of different particle size in soils as shown in Fig.S1, the contributions of different aggregate fractions to HHCB and AHTN sorption by soils were calculated as described in SI. Sorption mass balances revealed that the calculated values, based on the sum of the amount of equilibrium sorption of HHCB and AHTN in each fraction, were unmatched the measured values in bulk soils (Fig. 2). The sum of sorption contribution in each fraction were greater than the measured values in bulk soils 2 and soil 4. Bonin and Simpson (2007) hold that sorption sites may expose after physical fractionation within SOM that are closely associated with minerals and typically not accessible in bulk soils. However, the sum of sorption contribution in each fraction were significantly different with the measured values in other bulk soils. Wang et al. (2018) explained this phenomenon that if the formation of organic-mineral complex came solely from the selective combination of minerals with SOM, with no accompanying changes to the properties of the SOM, then the sorption capacity of organic-mineral complex should be less than or equal to the sum of the capacity of the two components. This suggested that it was likely that the accessible SOM, rather than total SOM, governed the extent of the target sorption (He et al. 2014, Chen et al. 2005).
The 5–50 µm fractions accounted for the most contribution to total sorption in bulk soils for both HHCB and AHTN, about 7.02–37.1% in the 50–200 µm fractions, 1.20% to 44.5 % in the 1–5 µm fractions and just 0.93–21.6% of total sorption by the < 1µm fractions. Although the < 1 µm fractions in soil 4 had the highest Koc value (Fig. 1), the sorption contribution is the smallest in all particle aggregate fractions for both HHCB and AHTN. Compared with other aggregate fractions, the Koc value in 5–50 µm fractions were relatively lower among all soils except soil 2 (Fig. 1). However, the contributions to HHCB and AHTN sorption in 5–50 µm fractions were much higher than others aggregate fraction. It could be the reason that the content of 5–50 µm fractions were relatively higher than the other fraction in bulk soils. This further indicated that the contributions of different aggregate fractions to HHCB and AHTN sorption by soils were not only influenced by Koc value but also the content.
K oc variation before versus after HF treatment
Table S4 and Table S5 shown the TOC content of SOM (foc) in different aggregate fractions and bulk soil before and after HF-treatment, respectively. In Table S4, as it ranged from 83.5–101.8%, the sum percentage of foc in different aggregate fractions were matched with the foc in the most corresponding bulk soils. The systematic and analytical errors during the physical fractionation procedures were negligible. In Table S5, the HF-treatment increased the TOC content of the soils and different aggregate fractions by a factor of 1.13–27.0 (average 4.1). From Fig. S2, it was apparated that corresponding ∆ Koc values for whole soils and ∆ TOC content was only weakly correlated, a fact confirmed by linear regression (R2 = 0.230 for HHCB, R2 = 0.224 for AHTN). It was interesting that the greater ∆ Koc values were appeared at low ∆ TOC. The removal of minerals with HF treatment from soils changed the extent of HHCB and AHTN sorption. With the depletion of minerals, the Koc decreased for HHCB and AHTN in all soils respectively (Fig. 3 and Fig S3). This finding was consistent with a previous study (He et al. 2014), which reported a much tighter range of increases in Koc on H2O2-treatment. These indicated that the minerals may directly contribute to the sorption or of HHCB and AHTN by soils or organic–mineral interactions can increase Koc in whole soils. He et al. (2014) hold that the newly formed sorption sites on the soil minerals increased the Koc in those aggregate fractions after the chemical removal of SOM. While in this study, we can only speculate that some sorption sites may appear on the soil minerals, which lead to the decreased of Koc in bulk soil.
However, the Koc values in different aggregate fractions were not always decreased after HF treatment. Instead, the Koc increased in 50–200 µm fraction or 5–50 µm fraction of all soils except soil 1. This indicated that, the organic-mineral interaction blocked sorption in these aggregate fractions. An increase in Koc value on HF-treatment or a decrease in Koc of the soils after SOM removal were also previously reported (Bonin and Simpson 2007, Ahangar et al. 2008, Smernik and Kookana 2015). Smernik and Kookana (2015) proposed that it is the liberation of SOM sorption sites blocked by interactions with minerals in the whole soils. Bonin and Simpson (2007) believed that physical fractionation may expose sorption sites within SOM that are closely associated with minerals and typically not accessible in bulk soils. Other investigators explained these results with the hypotheses of chemical alteration of the SOM components (Rumpel et al. 2006, Zegouagh et al. 2004) and SOM conformational changes (Salloum, Dudas and McGill 2001). However, the Koc value in < 1µm fractions were decreased among all soils. This suggested that the organic-mineral interaction promoted sorption in this fraction. Therefore, we proposed that maybe it was not sorption site of SOM but minerals were blocked in < 1µm fractions lead to Koc decreased. In soil 1 and soil 6, there was little change on Koc after the HF treatment for the 50–200 µm fraction and the 1–5 µm fraction. Even though the ∆TOC content increased from 6.12 to 153.1(Table S4, Table S5), but there was little contribution to sorption. This shown that the organic-mineral interaction may also have little effect on sorption, only accessible SOM govern the content of target sorption. Many distinct organo-mineral complexes were distributed in different aggregate fractions and bulk soils due to the SOM bonded to minerals by various forms (Garbarini and Lion 1986), which could be the reason caused the different effects of organic-mineral interaction on both the bulk soil and different aggregate fractions to sorption. The different sized organic-mineral complexes in soils differed significantly in structure and composition due to different strengthen of organic–mineral associations (He et al. 2008). It can thus be inferred that the effect of interactions between soil minerals and SOM were dual for the sorption of HHCB and AHTN.
It should also be noted that HF-treatment reduced the variability in Koc among the bulk soils. The coefficient of variation (standard deviation divided by the mean) was about 60% for both two PCMs in bulk soils and reduced to 33% for HHCB and 47% for AHTN. This indicated that the nature of soil minerals is an important contributor to Koc variability. However, another finding reported that the coefficient of variation of Koc for diuron was almost the same between the before and the after HF-treatment (Smernik and Kookana 2015). While in these four aggregates fractions, HF-treatment increased Koc variation. The chemical characteristics of organic matter of among six selected soils and their different aggregates fractions might differed. As pointed out by Ahmad et al. (2001), structural differences in the SOM are related to various factors such as degree of decomposition of the organic matter, origin, parent material, and environmental factors. This suggested that maybe the nature of accessible SOM mainly control the sorption process in aggregates fractions of soils. Variations in organic matter chemistry between different aggregates fractions of soils may contribute to Koc variability (Ahangar et al. 2008). Besides, it was possible that the mechanism of organic-mineral interaction in different aggregate fractions was also different, which in turn affects its sorption contribution in the bulk soil.
In order to explore the effects of the organic-mineral interaction in different aggregate fractions on the bulk soil sorption, we calculated the overlay value of ∆ Koc, the details of calculation were described in SI. If there is no interaction between different sizes particles, the measured ∆ Koc value should match the overlay ∆ Koc value. Comparing the overlay ∆ Koc value with the measured ∆ Koc value, it was obviously unmatched each other (Fig. 3 and Fig.S3). In soil 1, soil 3 and soil 4, both the overlay ∆ Koc value and the measured ∆ Koc value indicated that the interaction of organic-minerals promoted sorption, but the strengthen of promotion of sorption is different between the two ∆ Koc values. In soil 2, soil 5 and soil 6, the measured ∆ Koc value suggested organic-mineral interaction was positive to sorption but the calculated ∆ Koc value shown that organic-mineral interaction blocked the sorption. Due to the components in different aggregate sizes were not dispersed and independent, but interacted with each other, such as wrapping, covering and so on. As a result, there was a significant difference between the overlay ∆ Koc value and the measured ∆ Koc value, which was manifested in the effect and strengthen of organic-mineral interaction on the sorption. Due to the chemical characteristics or nature of SOM varied with different aggregate size, the effect of organic-mineral interaction to bulk soil sorption was also different. The interaction in the < 1 µm fractions promoted sorption while in the 50–200 µm fractions organic-mineral interaction blocked the sorption in the same soils. However, even for components with the same aggregate size, the effect and strengthen of interaction to sorption were different in soils. The organic-mineral interaction in 5–50 µm fractions promoted sorption in soil 1, soil 3, soil 4 and soil 5 but blocked sorption in soil 2 and soil 6. The organic-mineral interaction in 1–5 µm fractions blocked sorption in all selected soils except soil 5. Accordingly, the effect of organic-mineral interactions to bulk soil sorption in different aggregate fractions were different, which could explain the Koc variation in bulk soil to some extent.