Photolysis as ecological elimination ('photofate' of a chemical compound) may occur in water columns, on the surfaces of moist soils and plants, and in translucent plant tissues ('phytophotolysis'). Interestingly, photolysis is the only effective elimination pathway for many superlipophilic, most troublesome chemicals, such as polychlorinated dioxins, furans, or biphenyls, which are well known to resist microbial degradation.
In general, there are two pathways of degradation of a xenobiotic or allelochemical compound: direct and indirect photolysis. If a compound itself may be subject to direct photolysis, naturally occurring chromophores may compete with this compound for photons, thus, reducing the efficiency of direct photolytic degradation. Furthermore, the removal efficiency of xenobiotics in soils, sediments, and water columns may be significantly accelerated in the presence of Fe(m) and elevated chromo-phoric organic carbon (HS) contents, due to photo-Fenton-type processes described above. Generally, the photodegradation process in soil is faster than in water, because the concentrations of all reactants are much higher than in the aquatic systems.
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