Biodegradation, sorption, and transport of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in saturated and unsaturated soils

M. R. Estrella, M. L. Brusseau, R. S. Maier, I. L. Pepper, P. J. Wierenga, R. M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


The fate of an organic contaminant in soil depends on many factors, including sorption, biodegradation, and transport. The herbicide 2,4- dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was used as a model compound to illustrate the impact of these interacting factors on the fate of an organic contaminant. Batch and column experiments performed with a sandy loam soil mixture under saturated and unsaturated conditions were used to determine the effects of sorption and biodegradation on the fate and transport of 2,4-D. Sorption of 2,4-D was found to have a slight but significant effect on transport of 2,4-D under saturated conditions (retardation factor, 1.8) and unsaturated conditions (retardation factor, 3.4). Biodegradation of 2,4-D was extensive under both batch and column conditions and was found to have a significant impact on 2,4-D transport in column experiments. In batch experiments, complete mineralization of 2,4-D (100 mg kg-1) occurred over a 4-day period following a 3-day lag phase under both saturated and unsaturated conditions. The biodegradation rate parameters calculated for batch experiments were found to be significantly different from those estimated for column experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4266-4273
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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