Linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS) are anionic high production volume surfactants used in the manufacture of cleaning products. Here, we have studied the effect of the characteristics of marine and estuarine sediments on the sorption of LAS. Sorption experiments were performed with single sediment materials (pure clays and sea sand), with sediments treated to reduce their organic carbon content, and with field marine and estuarine sediments. C12-2-LAS was used as a model compound. Sorption to the clays montmorillonite and kaolinite resulted in non-linear isotherms very similar for both clays. When reducing the organic content, sorption coefficients decreased proportionally to the fraction removed in fine grain sediments but this was not the case for the sandy sediment. The correlation of the sediment characteristics with the sorption coefficients at different surfactant concentrations showed that at concentrations below 10 microg C12-2-LAS/L, the clay content correlated better with sorption, while the organic fraction became more significant at higher concentrations
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