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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Superfund Research Program

Mechanisms of Bioavailability Regulation in Soil

Project Leader: Frederic K. Pfaender
Grant Number: P42ES005948
Funding Period: 1995 - 2006

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Project Summary (2000-2006)

The goal of this project is to increase understanding of the mechanisms that regulate bioavailability of hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs) in soil. A large portion of these contaminants may be sequestered in the soil in forms that are not extractable by higher organisms. Researchers are investigating the factors that control the mechanisms of sequestration including properties of the mineral and organic fractions of soil. This includes examination of the role of microbes both in changing the soil organic matter and the HOCs. The role of redox changes and added electron acceptors on the transformations and sequestration of HOC in soil is also being studied. Additionally, how mechanism-regulating factors can be manipulated to impact bioavailability is serving as the basis for development of bioremediation strategies. Risk assessments for these types of chemicals are being improved by more accurate estimates of the bioavailability of these contaminants.

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