Impact of kerogen heterogeneity on sorption of organic pollutants. 2. Sorption equilibria

Chen Yang, Zhiqiang Yu, Baohua Xiao, Weilin Huang, Jiamo Fu, Zhi Dang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Phenanthrene and naphthalene sorption isotherms were measured for three different series of kerogen materials using completely mixed batch reactors. Sorption isotherms were nonlinear for each sorbate-sorbent system, and the Freundlich isotherm equation fit the sorption data well. The Freundlich isotherm linearity parameter n ranged from 0.192 to 0.729 for phenanthrene and from 0.389 to 0.731 for naphthalene. The n values correlated linearly with rigidity and aromaticity of the kerogen matrix, but the single-point, organic carbon-normalized distribution coefficients varied dramatically among the tested sorbents. A dual-mode sorption equation consisting of a linear partitioning domain and a Langmuir adsorption domain adequately quantified the overall sorption equilibrium for each sorbent-sorbate system. Both models fit the data well, with r2 values of 0.965 to 0.996 for the Freundlich model and 0.963 to 0.997 for the dual-mode model for the phenanthrene sorption isotherms. The dual-mode model fitting results showed that as the rigidity and aromaticity of the kerogen matrix increased, the contribution of the linear partitioning domain to the overall sorption equilibrium decreased, whereas the contribution of the Langmuir adsorption domain increased. The present study suggested that kerogen materials found in soils and sediments should not be treated as a single, unified, carbonaceous sorbent phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1592-1598
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Black carbon
  • Kerogen
  • Naphthalene
  • Phenanthrene
  • Sorption isotherm

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