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Impact of Microcystis aeruginosa Exudate on the Formation and Reactivity of Iron Oxide Particles Following Fe(II) and Fe(III) Addition

Garg, Shikha, Wang, Kai, Waite, T. David
Environmental Science & Technology 2017 v.51 no.10 pp. 5500-5510
Microcystis aeruginosa, algae, iron, iron oxides, ligands, oxidation, salts, siderophores, surface area, surface water, water treatment
Impact of the organic exudate secreted by a toxic strain of Microcystis aeruginosa on the formation, aggregation, and reactivity of iron oxides that are formed on addition of Fe(II) and Fe(III) salts to a solution of the exudate is investigated in this study. The exudate has a stabilizing effect on the particles formed with decreased aggregation rate and increased critical coagulant concentration required for diffusion-limited aggregation to occur. These results suggest that the presence of algal exudates from Microcystis aeruginosa may significantly influence particle aggregation both in natural water bodies where Fe(II) oxidation results in oxide formation and in water treatment where Fe(III) salts are commonly added to aid particle growth and contaminant capture. The exudate also affects the reactivity of iron oxide particles formed with exudate coated particles undergoing faster dissolution than bare iron oxide particles. This has implications to iron availability, especially where algae procure iron via dissolution of iron oxide particles as a result of either reaction with reducing moieties, light-mediated ligand to metal charge transfer and/or reaction with siderophores. The increased reactivity of exudate coated particles is attributed, for the most part, to the smaller size of these particles, higher surface area and increased accessibility of surface sites.