Evaluation and development of models for estimating the sorption behaviour of pharmaceuticals in soils

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sorption is one of the key process that affects the fate and mobility of pharmaceuticals in the soil environment. Several models have been developed for estimating the sorption of organic chemicals, including ionisable compounds, in soil. However, the applicability of these models to pharmaceuticals has not been extensively tested. In this study, we generated a high-quality dataset on the sorption of twenty-one pharmaceuticals in different soil types and used these data to evaluate existing models and to develop new improved models. Sorption coefficients (Kd) of the pharmaceuticals ranged from 0.2 to 1249.2 L/kg. Existing models were unable to adequately estimate the measured sorption data. Using the data, new models were developed, incorporating molecular and soil descriptors, that outperformed the published models when evaluated against external data sets. While there is a need for further evaluation of these new models against broader sorption datasets obtained at environmentally relevant concentrations, in the future they could be highly useful in supporting environmental risk assessment and prioritization efforts for pharmaceutical ingredients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122469
JournalJournal of hazardous materials
Early online date5 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

Cite this