Determination of partition coefficients for selected PAHs between water and dissolved organic matter

Su Jin Kim, Jung Hwan Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The fate and transport of highly hydrophobic chemicals are affected by the partitioning between water and dissolved organic carbon. Large variation in the partition coefficient (KDOCw) is often found, due to the selection of model organic matter or potential experimental artifacts. To investigate the roles of the type of organic matter on the partitioning of highly hydrophobic compounds, the partition coefficients of eight selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), with 3-6 aromatic rings, were determined using a passive dosing/extraction method between water and model dissolved organic matter (humic acid, fulvic acid, sodium dodecyl sulfate micelle (SDS), and 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin). Although the KDOCw values for 3-4 ring PAHs in this study were close to those reported in the literature, experimental KDOCw values between Aldrich humic acid (AHA) and water were higher than values reported in the literature for 5-6 ring PAHs. The KDOCw values were highest for AHA, followed by SDS and Suwannee river fulvic acid (SFA). The slopes of the linear regression between log KDOCw and log Kow were 1.23 (± 0.13), 0.82 (± 0.09), and 0.59 (± 0.13) for AHA, SDS, and SFA, respectively. The differences in the KDOCw values between AHA and the other organic matter (SDS, SFA, and CD) increased with increasing hydrophobicity of the PAHs, showing that the sorption of highly hydrophobic chemicals to the humic acid fraction may be important in the presence of mixed organic matter. A solid-phase dosing/extraction method was applied to obtain partition coefficients. Different polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with 3-6 aromatic rings were determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-802
Number of pages6
JournalClean - Soil, Air, Water
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sep
Externally publishedYes


  • Fulvic acids
  • Humic acids
  • Poly(dimethylsiloxane)
  • Sodium dodecyl sulfate
  • Sorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution


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