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Organic Contaminant Partitioning

  • 7.5 credits

In our modern society, we rely on chemicals for diverse and varied purposes. Our exploitation of the benefits of chemicals means that many are inevitably emitted to the environment, where they distribute between air, water, soil and sediment, and even into the tissues of plants and animals.

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In this course you will learn how the molecular structure of organic chemicals determines their partitioning properties, and how these properties of the chemicals in turn affect their fate in the environment.

Understanding the environmental fate of organic chemicals and how it is determined by molecular structure and partitioning properties is fundamental for environmental chemistry research, risk analysis and environmental chemical management within both industry and authorities.

Topics covered include:

  • vapor pressure – “solubility in air”
  • water solubility
  • distribution of organic contaminants between air and water
  • solubility in organic matrices
  • octanol-water partition coefficient
  • sorption to sediment and/or soil
  • bioavailability and uptake in biota (bioaccumulation and biomagnification)
  • Course structure

    Teaching format

    The course includes lectures, workshop exercises, presentations and discussions.


    The course is examined as follows: Knowledge assessment takes the form of Written exam and written assignments.

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