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Microplastics and dissolved organic matter (DOM) are ubiquitous in aquatic environments. The adsorption behavior of DOM on microplastics in aquatic environments is a prominent concern. In this study, the adsorption of two types of DOM, Suwannee River Humic Acid (HA) and Suwannee River Fulvic Acid (FA), on polystyrene microplastics (PSMPs, 10 μm) in aquatic environments was investigated. The adsorption of both HA and FA on PSMPs could be well described by using pseudo second-order and Freundlich models. The adsorption of HA and FA on PSMPs was low pH-dependent, particularly for FA adsorption. However, the elevated ionic strength slightly increased the adsorption of HA and FA on PSMPs. Based on Freundlich model, the site energy distribution of HA and FA adsorption on PSMPs under the experimental conditions were estimated. HA and FA first occupied the high-energy adsorption sites and then diffused to the low-energy adsorption sites on PSMPs. With higher site energies, HA demonstrated a much stronger adsorption affinity to PSMPs than FA. The adsorption site heterogeneity (σe*) on PSMPs under the experimental conditions were close. Hydrophobic interaction and π-π electron donor acceptor interaction acted simultaneously in the HA and FA adsorption on PSMPs. The results of this study suggested that the environmental behaviors of microplastics would be influenced by the amount and the type of DOM as well as solution chemistry. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Abliz Abdurahman, Kunyan Cui, Jie Wu, Shuocong Li, Rui Gao, Juan Dai, Weiqian Liang, Feng Zeng. Adsorption of dissolved organic matter (DOM) on polystyrene microplastics in aquatic environments: Kinetic, isotherm and site energy distribution analysis. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety. 2020 Jul 15;198:110658

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PMID: 32339926

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