Matrix - Hydrophobic Compound Interactions

  • Hauke Harms
  • Lukas Y. Wick
  • Kilian E. C. Smith
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


The fate and transport of hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) such as oil hydrocarbons are strongly influenced by their interactions with environmental matrices including soils and sediments. These interactions can be grouped into those of nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPLs), e.g., the spreading of oil on solid surfaces and its movement in porous media, and those of water-dissolved HOC molecules which sorb onto solid surfaces or partition into organic matter or NAPL phases. Generally, these different types of sequestration phenomena lead to reduced contact between organisms and the bioavailable HOC molecules dissolved in the surrounding water phase, and thus to lower uptake and biodegradation. However, in certain situations, sorption of the HOCs to small and highly mobile HOC-sorbing phases such as dissolved organic carbon or surfactants may mobilize the HOCs and increase their bioavailability and/or toxicological risk.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hauke Harms
    • 1
  • Lukas Y. Wick
    • 1
  • Kilian E. C. Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Environmental MicrobiologyHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Environmental Research (Biology 5)RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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