Modeling the plant uptake of organic chemicals, including the soil-air-plant pathway
Collins, C. D. and Finnegan, E. (2010) Modeling the plant uptake of organic chemicals, including the soil-air-plant pathway. Environmental Science & Technology, 44 (3). pp. 998-1003. ISSN 0013-936X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1021/es901941z
The soil−air−plant pathway is potentially important in the vegetative accumulation of organic pollutants from contaminated soils. While a number of qualitative frameworks exist for the prediction of plant accumulation of organic chemicals by this pathway, there are few quantitative models that incorporate this pathway. The aim of the present study was to produce a model that included this pathway and could quantify its contribution to the total plant contamination for a range of organic pollutants. A new model was developed from three submodels for the processes controlling plant contamination via this pathway: aerial deposition, soil volatilization, and systemic translocation. Using the combined model, the soil−air−plant pathway was predicted to account for a significant proportion of the total shoot contamination for those compounds with log KOA > 9 and log KAW < −3. For those pollutants with log KOA < 9 and log KAW > −3 there was a higher deposition of pollutant via the soil−air−plant pathway than for those chemicals with log KOA > 9 and log KAW < −3, but this was an insignificant proportion of the total shoot contamination because of the higher mobility of these compounds via the soil−root−shoot pathway. The incorporation of the soil−air−plant pathway into the plant uptake model did not significantly improve the prediction of the contamination of vegetation from polluted soils when compared across a range of studies. This was a result of the high variability between the experimental studies where the bioconcentration factors varied by 2 orders of magnitude at an equivalent log KOA. One potential reason for this is the background air concentration of the pollutants under study. It was found background air concentrations would dominate those from soil volatilization in many situations unless there was a soil hot spot of contamination, i.e., >100 mg kg−1.