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Chromate reduction on humic acid derived from a peat soil – Exploration of the activated sites on HAs for chromate removal

Huang, S.W., Chiang, P.N., Liu, J.C., Hung, J.T., Kuan, W.H., Tzou, Y.M., Wang, S.L., Huang, J.H., Chen, C.C., Wang, M.K., Loeppert, R.H.
Chemosphere 2012 v.87 no.6 pp. 587-594
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, carcinogenicity, free radicals, heavy metals, humic acids, lighting, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, pH, peat soils
Humic substances are a major component of soil organic matter that influence the behavior and fate of heavy metals such as Cr(VI), a toxic and carcinogenic element. In the study, a repetitive extraction technique was used to fractionate humic acids (HAs) from a peat soil into three fractions (denoted as F1, F2, and F3), and the relative importance of O-containing aromatic and aliphatic domains in humic substances for scavenging Cr(VI) was addressed at pH 1. Spectroscopic analyses indicated that the concentrations of aromatic C and O-containing functional groups decreased with a progressive extraction as follows: F1>F2>F3. Cr(VI) removal by HA proceeded slowly, but it was enhanced when light was applied due to the production of efficient reductants, such as superoxide radical and H₂O₂, for Cr(VI). Higher aromatic- and O-containing F1 fraction exhibited a greater efficiency for Cr(VI) reduction (with a removal rate of ca. 2.89mmolg⁻¹ HA under illumination for 3h). ¹³C NMR and FTIR spectra further demonstrated that the carboxyl groups were primarily responsible for Cr(VI) reduction. This study implied the mobility and fate of Cr(VI) would be greatly inhibited in the environments containing such organic groups.