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Keywords:

  • organic chlorine;
  • organochlorine;
  • chlorinated organic matter;
  • chloride;
  • withdrawal;
  • cycling;
  • biogeochemistry

Abstract

Chloride (Clinorg) is generally considered to be a hydrologically and chemically inert substance. Past research suggests that Clinorg participates in a complex biogeochemical cycle involving the formation of organically bound chlorine (Clorg). The present study examines whether Clorg cycling is sufficiently extensive as to influence the geochemical cycling of Clinorg. Undisturbed soil cores were collected in a coniferous forest soil in SE Sweden. The cores were stored in climate chambers for three months, irrigated with artificial rain, and the leachate was collected and analysed. The water balance of the lysimeters could be well described, and we found that 20–50% of the chlorine leached from the lysimeters was organically bound and that the amounts lost did not decrease with time. This strongly suggests that a substantial amount of Clorg forms in topsoil, and that subsequent leaching to deeper layers causes a considerable withdrawal of Clinorg. The concentration of both organic carbon and Clorg in the leachate was considerably higher than concentrations observed in the runoff in the actual catchment, suggesting that organic matter precipitates or is mineralized on its way through the soil. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.