Plant cuticles are important precursors for soil organic matter, in particular for soil humin, which is considered an efficient sorbent for organic pollutants. In this study, we examined degradation and transformation of cuticles isolated from Lycopersicon esculentum fruit and Agave americana leaves in loamy sand and sandy clay loessial arid brown soils. We then studied sorption of phenanthrene and carbamazepine to humin-mineral matrices isolated from the incubated soils. Low degradation (22%) was observed for agave cuticle in a sandy clay soil system, whereas high degradation (68-78%) was obtained for agave cuticle in a loamy sand soil system and for loamy sand and sandy clay soils amended with tomato cuticle. During incubation, most of the residual organic matter was accumulated in the humin fraction. Sorption of phenanthrene was significantly higher for humin-mineral matrices obtained from soils incubated with plant cuticles as compared with soils without cuticle application. Sorption of carbamazepine to humin-mineral matrices was not affected by cuticle residues. Cooperative sorption of carbamazepine on humin-mineral matrices isolated from sandy clay soil is suggested. Sorption-desorption hysteresis of both phenanthrene and carbamazepine was lower for humin-mineral matrices obtained from soils incubated with plant cuticles as compared with nonamended soils. Our results show that cuticle composition significantly affects the rate and extent of cuticle degradation in soils and that plant cuticle application influences sorption and desorption of polar and nonpolar pollutants by humin-mineral matrices.
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© American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.