Role of soil-derived dissolved substances in arsenic transport and transformation in laboratory experiments

Sci Total Environ. 2008 Nov 15;406(1-2):180-9. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.07.017. Epub 2008 Aug 28.


Dissolved substances derived from soil may interact with both soil surfaces and with arsenic and subsequently influence arsenic mobility and species transformation. The purpose of this study was to investigate arsenic transport and transformation in porous media with a specific focus on the impact of soil-derived dissolved substances, mainly consisting of inorganic colloids and dissolved organic matter (DOM), on these processes. Arsenic transport and transformation through columns, which were packed with uncoated sand (UC) or naturally coated sand (NC) and fed with arsenate (AsV) or monomethylarsonic acid (MMA) spiked influents, were investigated in the presence or absence of soil-derived dissolved substances. The presence of soil-derived inorganic colloids and/or DOM clearly enhanced As transport through the column, with the fraction of As leached out of column (referring to the total amount added) being increased from 23 to 46% (UC) and 21 to 50% (NC) in AsV experiments while 46 to 64% (UC) and 28 to 63% (NC) in MMA experiments. The association of arsenic with DOM and the competitive adsorption between arsenic and DOM could account for, at least partly, the enhanced As movement. Distinct species transformation of As during transport through soil columns was observed. When AsV was the initial species spiked in the influent solutions, only arsenite (AsIII) was detected in the effluents for UC columns; while both AsIII (dominant) and AsV were present for NC columns, with AsIII being the dominant species. When MMA was initially spiked in the influent solutions, all method detectable As species, AsIII, AsV, MMA, and dimethylarsenic acid (DMA) were present in the effluents for both soil columns. These results indicate that risk assessment associated with As contamination, particularly due to previous organoarsenical pesticide applications, should take into account the role of soil-derived dissolved substances in promoting As transport and As species transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Arsenates / analysis
  • Arsenates / chemistry
  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Arsenic / chemistry*
  • Arsenicals / analysis
  • Arsenicals / chemistry
  • Carbon / analysis
  • Carbon / chemistry
  • Chromatography*
  • Colloids / analysis
  • Colloids / chemistry
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Laboratories*
  • Porosity
  • Soil*


  • Arsenates
  • Arsenicals
  • Colloids
  • Soil
  • Carbon
  • monomethylarsonic acid
  • Arsenic
  • arsenic acid