Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biological Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Yanna Liang

Committee Member

Pauline Carrico


PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) refers to a class of chemicals that consist of long-chains of carbon bonded to fluorine. These are chemicals that have many industrial uses, from cosmetics to industrial fire-fighting foam. Since PFAS is so widely used and available, it has become increasingly present in water and soil, resulting in its uptake and bioaccumulation in plants. This study focused on the impacts of powdered activated carbon (PAC) and montmorillonite on the PFOS precursor N-ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamido acetic acid (N-EtFOSAA), in soil, and in plants grown in that soil. This study focused on spiking soil with PFAS chemicals, cultivating soybean plants in the soil extracting PFAS from the soil, roots and shoots through leaching, SPE and elution, respectively, before being quantifying the amount of precursors and transformed PFAS using LC-MS-MS. Analysis of these results have shown that N-EtFOSAA at a concentration of 300µg/kg, as well as its transformation products (PFOSA and PFOS) were taken up by the soybean roots and shoots, causing a decrease in the biomass of these areas by 61.16% and 47.63% respectively. PAC had the largest diminishing effect on the bioavailability of N-EtFOSAA and its products in soil. PAC also decreased the total uptake of N-EtFOSAA by plants by 94.96%. Montmorillonite had a smaller effect, showing less of a stabilizing effect on N-EtFOSAA and its products, and was not effective in lowering their bioavailability. Thus, when looking at the most effective environment to immobilize N-EtFOSAA in soil, it was seen to be PAC and soybean plants.

Included in

Biology Commons