Molecular-level investigation of monoaromatic compound sorption to suspended soil particles by deuterium nuclear magnetic resonance. Academic Article uri icon


  • Molecular-level sorption behavior of monoaromatic compounds in suspensions of water-dispersable clay components was studied by measuring 2H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spin-spin relaxation times (T2). In general, decreased T2 values indicate stronger solute-sorbent interactions and increased sorption of the solute. A decreasing trend for T2 values in the order benzene > fluorobenzene > toluene (-C6D5 moiety) was observed, which was probably caused by the hydrophobic effect. The T2 values for benzene and the -C6D5 moiety of toluene increased with increasing pH, whereas the trend with pH was much weaker and less consistent for fluorobenzene and the methyl group of toluene. Conversely, no clear relationship was found between T2 values and pH for dichloromethane. These contrasting results cannot be explained by the pH-dependent self-assembly and hydrophobicity of humics. Instead, directed specific forces, including hydrogen bonding, cation-pi interactions, and aromatic-aromatic interactions, are proposed between the benzene ring of monoaromatic solutes and soil organic matter (SOM). Substituents of benzene affect these interactions by varying the pi electron density. When the soil fraction was treated with NaOH to remove humic and fulvic acids, T2 values for the different monoaromatic solutes were surprisingly lower compared with those for the untreated soil fraction. This result is probably caused by the increased ratio of solutes adsorbed to "hard" or "glassy" SOM components, which leads to less mobile sorbed solute molecules, after removing NaOH-extractable humics that contain more "soft" or "rubbery" SOM components.

published proceedings

  • J Environ Qual

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhu, D., Herbert, B. E., & Schlautman, M. A.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Zhu, Dongqiang||Herbert, Bruce E||Schlautman, Mark A

publication date

  • January 2003