Sorption, degradation and mobility of ptaquiloside, a carcinogenic Bracken (Pteridium sp.) constituent, in the soil environment.

Lars Holm Rasmussen, Denis Lauren, Hans Christian Bruun Hansen

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    Ptaquiloside (PTA) is a carcinogenic norsesquiterpene glucoside produced by Bracken in amounts up to at least 13 500 mg m2. The toxin is transferred from Bracken to the underlying soil from where it may leach to surface and groundwaters impairing the quality of drinking water. The objectives of the present study were to characterize the solubility, degradation and retention of PTA in soils in order to evaluate the risk for groundwater contamination. PTA was isolated from Bracken. The logarithmic octanol–water and ethyl acetate–water partitioning coefficients for PTA were 0.63 and 0.88, respectively, in agreement with the high water solubility of the compound. PTA hydrolysed rapidly in aqueous solution at pH 4 or lower, but was stable above pH 4. Incubation of PTA with 10 different soils at 25 C showed three different first order degradation patterns: (i) rapid degradation observed for acid sandy soils with half lifes ranging between 8 and 30 h decreasing with the soil content of organic matter, (ii) slow degradation in less acid sandy soils with half-lives of several days, and (iii) fast initial degradation with a concurrent solid phase–water partitioning reaction observed for non-acid, mostly clayey soils. The presence of clay silicates appears to retard the degradation of PTA, possibly through sorption. Degradation at 4 C was generally of type (iii) and degradation rates were up to 800 times lower than at 25 C. Sorption isotherms for the same set of soils were almost linear and generally showed very low sorption affinity with distribution coefficients in the range 0.01–0.22 l kg1 at a solution concentration of 1 mg l1 except for the most acid soil; Freundlich affinity coefficients increased linearly with clay and organic matter contents. Negligible sorption was also observed in column studies where PTA and a non-sorbing tracer showed almost coincident break-through. Leaching of PTA to the aqueous environment will be most extensive on sandy soils, having pH >4 and poor in organic matter which are exposed to high precipitation rates during cold seasons.
    Udgave nummer6
    Sider (fra-til)823-835
    StatusUdgivet - 2005