Main content area

Arsenite and arsenate binding to ferrihydrite organo-mineral coprecipitate: Implications for arsenic mobility and fate in natural environments

Xue, Qin, Ran, Ying, Tan, Yunzhi, Peacock, Caroline L., Du, Huihui
Chemosphere 2019 v.224 pp. 103-110
adsorption, arsenates, arsenic, arsenites, bioavailability, coprecipitation, ferrihydrite, groundwater, humic acids, iron, moieties, organic carbon, oxidation, pH, sediments, soil
Arsenic mobility in soils, sediments and groundwater systems is strongly controlled by adsorption occurring at iron oxide/water interfaces, and the extent of this adsorption may be influenced by the presence of natural organic matter (NOM). This study aims to investigate the adsorption of As(III) and As(V) onto coprecipitates made with ferrihydrite (Fh) and humic acid (HA) with two organic carbon (OC) loadings of 5 and 15 wt% OC. We show that the coprecipitation of HA with Fh can significantly reduce the retention of both As(III) and As(V) over a wide pH range (4–11), and with increased OC loading, there is reduced arsenic adsorption. On pure Fh, As(III) is adsorbed to a greater extent than As(V) at pH > 6.5 (the crossover pH), whereas the crossover pH shifts to more acidic pH in the presence of HA, implying that the binding of As(III) is more favorable than As(V) in the presence of NOM. Both As(III) and As(V) are complexed with the ferric hydroxyl functional groups, and no ternary Fh-HA-As complexes are detected. We observe that ∼40% of the adsorbed As(III) is oxidized to As(V) on pure Fh, compared to only ∼29% of As(III) oxidation on the Fh-HA coprecipitate, indicating that NOM hinders As(III) oxidation on iron (hydr)oxide. The results of this study suggest that NOM interacts with arsenic in ways that promote arsenic mobility and especially promote the mobility of arsenate relative to arsenite, which is of great significance for evaluating the migration and bioavailability of arsenic in both natural and contaminated environments.