Three Program Scientists Make Environmental Science and Technology's Top Ten Papers
The editors of Environmental Science and Technology have identified their
journal's 10 most highly cited research papers. USGS scientists, currently with the Toxic Substances Hydrology (Toxics) Program, authored three of these historic papers.
- "Effect of adsorbed complexing ligands on trace metal uptake by hydrous
oxides," by James A. Davis and James O Leckie, Environmental
Science and Technology, 1978, v. 12, no. 12, p. 1309-1315.
The paper documented for the first time the role that organic ligands
play in the adsorption of trace metals. Their work showed that organic
compounds, such as humic substances or fulvic acids, adsorbed onto
surfaces can also form metal-organic complexes, thus acting as an
additional way to adsorb trace metals onto surfaces. James Davis,
a USGS scientist, has gone on to study the fate
and transport of dissolved trace metals in ground water. Davis
and his colleagues have conducted some of the most chemically complex
natural-gradient tracer tests in the world at the Toxics Program's
- "Preparative isolation of aquatic humic substances," by Earl M.
Thurman and Ronald L. Malcolm, Environmental Science and Technology,
1981, v. 15, no. 4, p. 463-466.
This paper documented a reliable method for isolating, concentrating,
and purifying dissolved organic matter in water samples. Understanding
the nature of dissolved organic matter is an important step in studying
the fate of metals and pesticides in the environment. Thurman, a USGS
scientist and active researcher in the Toxics Program, has continued
to develop important methods throughout his career with the USGS.
Thurman and his colleagues have developed a variety of analytical
methods to measure the concentration of the environmental metabolites
of pesticides in water samples. In many cases, metabolites of pesticides
are detected more often than the parent compounds. These methods formed
the basis of the Toxics Program's studies on the fate and occurrence
of agricultural chemicals in the Upper
Midwest (Corn Belt) and the Southern
United States (cotton production areas). Thurman is based in Lawrence,
Kansas, were he runs an organic
geochemistry research laboratory.
- "Partition coefficient and bioaccumulation of selected organic chemicals,"
Cary T. Chiou, Virgil Freed, David Schmedding, and Rodger L. Kohnert,
Environmental Science and Technology, 1977, v. 11, no. 5, p. 475-478.
Scientists have correlated a contaminant's ability to bioconcentrate
in fish with a measure of its solubility in an organic solvent,
such as octanol, and its solubility in water known as the octanol-water partition coefficient. This publication filled a big gap in finding
reliable octanol-water partition coefficients for common contaminants,
such as DDT and other chlorinated compounds. Chiou and his colleagues
showed that the solubility of an organic substance in water is intrinsically
related to the compound's tendency to partition into organic substances,
such as octanol or fish fat. They demonstrated that in the absence
of reliable octanol-water partition coefficients, the much more
readably available data on water solubility can be used to estimate
either the compound's octanol-water partition coefficient or the
compound's bioconcentration potential. Chiou is now an active scientist
in the USGS's National
Research Program where his Toxics Program research focuses on
the partition and adsorption of persistent organic compounds and
their uptake by soils, sediments, and plants
Betts, Kellyn, Erickson, Britt, and Petkewich, Rachel, 2001, High-impact environmental research: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 35, no. 23, p, 488A-494A.
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