We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK


93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Persistent organic pollutants in boreal and mon...
View graph of relations

« Back

Persistent organic pollutants in boreal and montane soil profiles : distribution, evidence of processes and implications for global cycling.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date15/11/2008
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Number of pages7
Original languageEnglish


The distribution of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) within background soil profiles was investigated in boreal (Norway) and montane (Italy) areas. The typical build-up of slowly mineralizing humus layers, containing high amounts of soil organic matter (SOM) makes soils of such ecosystems an important global sink for POPs released to the environment. The study focused on evidence and implications of processes influencing the fate of POPs in soil. POP deposition, interaction with SOM, volatilization, leaching, degradation, and bioturbation are discussed. Results indicate that the less volatile POPs such as hexa- and higher chlorinated biphenyls (CBs) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers are very stable in soil profiles, undergoing little translocation or (re)transfer to other environmental compartments. In contrast, more volatile compounds (e.g., tri- and tetra-CBs) were found in soil layers below those formed from vegetation ever directly exposed to airborne POPs. This suggests the occurrence of downward transport and hence limited surface-air exchange of more volatile POPs as they are removed from the top layers. Such soils may therefore be able to retain higher amounts of these compounds than just addressed by the capacity of their surface layers.