The Fate of Chlorine in Soils

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Science  08 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5557, pp. 985-986
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068918

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The degradation products of natural organic matter play a key role both in the fertility of soils and in the transport of pollutants such as organochlorine pesticides in the environment. Little is known about the properties of these important but complex and ill-defined molecules. In his Perspective, Casey highlights the report by Myneni, who shows that chlorine is transformed from its inorganic form to organochlorines during natural degradation. The results indicate that chlorination of organic compounds during degradation is widespread.