A generalized model of humic materials in soils and sediments, which is consistent with their observed properties, is presented. This model provides a means of understanding the interaction of hydrophobic pollutants with humic materials. In this model, it is proposed that the humic materials in soils and sediments consist of a number of different oligomers and simple compounds which result from the partial degradation of plant remains. These degradation products are stabilized by incorporation into humic aggregates bound together by weak bonding mechanisms, such as hydrogen bonding, pi bonding, and hydrophobic interactions. The resulting structures are similar to micelles or membranes, in which the interiors of the structures are hydrophobic and the exteriors are hydrophilic. Hydrophobic compounds will partition into the hydrophobic interiors of the humic micelles or "membrane-like" structures. ?? 1986.
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A new model for humic materials and their interactions with hydrophobic organic chemicals in soil-water or sediment-water systems