Tributyltin partitioning in sediments: effect of aging

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Burton, ED, Phillips, IR, Hawker, DW 2006, ‘Tributyltin partitioning in sediments: effect of aging’, Chemosphere, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 73 – 81.


The effect of aging on the solid/pore-water partitioning and desorption behaviour of tributyltin (TBT) in sediments was examined. Three sediment samples with contrasting physical and chemical properties were spiked with 10 mg/kg TBT and aged under sterile conditions for periods of time ranging from 1 to 84 days. Aging had a negligible effect on partitioning and desorption behaviour in a sandy sample with very low organic carbon content (0.2% w/w). In contrast, for samples with larger amounts of organic carbon (2.6% and 4.8% w/w), aging caused substantial increases in TBT sorption. For these samples, apparent distribution coefficients (KD,app) obtained from sequential 2 h desorption experiments also exhibited a twofold increase between spiked sediments subjected to aging for 1 day and 84 days. This study demonstrates that aging effects may be an important aspect of TBT fate in contaminated sediments.