Environmental science and pollution research international

Characterizing the interactions between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and fulvic acids in water.

PMID 22802117


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals and are listed as priority pollutants by the US EPA. Although they are sparsely soluble in water, their solubility can be increased by binding to dissolved organic matter in natural waters, which will further increase their environmental risk as toxic pollutants. In this study, the interaction between PAHs, exemplified by fluorene and anthracene, and fulvic acid (FA) was studied using fluorescence quenching titration method with fluorescence emission spectra, respectively. The association of FA with the mixture of fluorene and anthracene was also evaluated by excitation-emission matrix (EEM) fluorescence spectrometry combined with parallel factor (PARAFAC) analysis. Results demonstrate that EEM fluorescence spectrometry with PARAFAC analysis was sensitive and reliable to determine the binding properties of PAHs with FA in a mixed aqueous solution. The conditional stability constants and binding capacities show that both PAHs bind to FA tightly.