Contamination of soils with persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as organochlorine pesticide, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, halohydrocarbon, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is of increasing concern. Microbial degradation is potential mechanism for the removal of POPs, but it is often restricted by low bioavailability of POPs. Thus, it is important to enhance bioavailability of POPs in soil bioremediation. A series of reviews on bioavailability of POPs has been published in the past few years. However, bioavailability of POPs in relation to soil organic matter, minerals and soil microbes has been little studied. To fully understand POPs bioavailability in soil, research on interactions of POPs with soil components and microbial responses in bioavailability limitation conditions are needed. This review focuses on bioavailability mechanisms of POPs in terms of sorption, transport and microbial adaptation, which is particularly novel. In consideration of the significance of bioavailability, further studies should investigate the influence of various bioremediation strategies on POPs bioavailability.
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