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Year of publication:


Author(s) Name(s) and Affiliation : Patricia Garnier INRA



The COP-soil model simulates the dynamics of organic pollutants during the decomposition of organic matter. The model is divided in two modules: one to simulate the dynamics of organic carbon (Zhang et al., 2012) and one to simulate the dynamics of organic pollutants (Lashermes et al., 2013). The model was used to simulate the pesticide dynamics during the decomposition of organic mulch residues at the soil surface (Aslam et al., 2014) or to simulate the dynamic of organic pollutants added with compost  (Geng et al., 2014).

The organic carbon module simulates the transformation of organic carbon during decomposition based on the biochemical composition of the added organic matter. Organic carbon is assumed to contain five pools with different grades of degradability. All of these pools are hydrolysed with specific rate constants following first-order kinetics. The growth of the microbial biomass is modelled by Monod kinetics. The organic pollutant module simulates different pools : a water-soluble pool, adsorbed fractions, non-extraction residues (NER) and the mineralised fraction. We added a compartment for all metabolites (denoted M) formed by the degradation of the parent molecule (P) that were both divided into soluble parts (Pw, Mw) and adsorbed parts (Pads, Mads). These two modules may be coupled to study the effect of organic carbon transformation on organic pollutant dynamics during decomposition. The assumptions for coupling the two modules were previously as follows:

  1. the organic pollutant distribution between soluble and adsorbed phases are described by instantaneous equilibrium and a kinetic process that can be dependent on the biochemical quality of organic matter
  2. the organic pollutant in the soluble pool were assumed to be degraded through co-metabolism by micro-organisms that use the energy obtained from the decomposition of organic matter
  3. the NER fraction was assumed to be formed by the stabilisation of adsorbed pesticide fractions, and its formation during organic matter decomposition was partly dependent on microbial activity.


Scientific articles

Aslam S., P. Benoit, F. Chabauty, V. Bergheaud, C. Geng, L. Vieublé-Gonod, P. Garnier. 2014. Modelling the impacts of maize decomposition on glyphosate dynamics in mulch. European Journal of Soil Science, 65 : 231-247.

Zhang Y., G. Lashermes, S. Houot, Y-G. Zhu, E. Barriuso, P. Garnier. 2014. COP-Compost: a software to study the degradation of Organic pollutants in composts. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 21 : 2761-2776.

Lashermes G., Zhang Y., Houot S., Steyer J.P., Patureau D., Barriuso E., Garnier P. 2013. Simulation of organic matter and pollutant evolution during composting: the COP-COMPOST model. Journal of Environmental Quality, 42 : 361-372.

Geng C., C-S Haudin, Y. Zhang, G. Lashermes, S. Houot, P. Garnier. Modelling the release of organic micropollutants during compost decomposition in soil. Chemosphere in process.


Technical information

Operating system(s): Matlab

Output(s): organic matter mineralisation, pollutant dissipation

Export format(s): for excel

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