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Keywords:

  • Fugacity;
  • Sorption;
  • Transpiration;
  • Vegetation

Abstract

Uptake of organic chemicals into plants depends on the properties of the contaminant and the physiology of the plant. A mass balance model based on fugacity was developed to quantify the uptake and transport in plants of a very hydrophobic chemical, p,p′-dichlorophenyl-1,1-dichloroethylene (DDE). The model included processes for sorption or influx of chemical with water from hydroponic solution to root and sorption or exchange of chemical between the shoot and air. Movement among compartments of the plant was governed by the transfer of water in xylem and phloem. The movement of water was entirely determined by transpiration, growth rate, and weight distribution among tissues. This model was used to predict the kinetics of uptake and movement of DDE from hydroponic solution by seedlings of two species of Cucurbitacea, cucumber and zucchini. These predictions were compared to the results of experiments in a companion paper. These experiments showed that the translocation of DDE in zucchini was much greater than in cucumber. The model correctly predicted the negligible uptake into the shoot of cucumber. The model predicted the greater uptake of DDE by zucchini only if the apparent partitioning of DDE in the xylem was 25-fold higher than that expected in pure water. Predictions using similar parameters were made for uptake and distribution of DDE for plants grown into fruit production in field soil contaminated with DDE. To match the observed concentration of DDE in fruit, the model coefficient for partitioning of DDE into water in phloem had to be increased to 200 times that in pure water.