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Ferrihydrite Growth and Transformation in the Presence of Ferrous Iron and Model Organic Ligands.

ThomasArrigo, Laurel K; Kaegi, Ralf; Kretzschmar, Ruben.
Environ Sci Technol; 53(23): 13636-13647, 2019 Dec 03.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31718167
Ferrihydrite (Fh) is a poorly crystalline Fe(III)-oxyhydroxide found in abundance in soils and sediments. With a high specific surface area and sorption capacity at circumneutral pH, ferrihydrite is an important player in the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients and trace elements in redox-dynamic environments. Under reducing conditions, exposure to Fe(II) induces mineral transformations in ferrihydrite; the extent and trajectory of which may be greatly influenced by organic matter (OM). However, natural OM is heterogeneous and comprises a range of molecular weights (MWs) and varied functional group compositions. To date, the impact that the chemical composition of the associated OM has on Fe(II)-catalyzed mineral transformations is not clear. To address this knowledge gap, we coprecipitated ferrihydrite with model organic ligands selected to cover a range of MWs (25 000-50 000 vs <200 Da) as well as carboxyl content (polygalacturonic acid (PGA) > citric acid (CA) > galacturonic acid (GA)). Coprecipitates (CFe ≈ 0.6) were reacted with 1 mM 57Fe(II) for 1 week at pH 7, with time-resolved solid-phase analysis (via X-ray diffraction, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and electron microscopy) revealing that all ligands inhibited Fe(II)-catalyzed ferrihydrite mineral transformations and the formation of crystalline secondary mineral phases compared to a pure ferrihydrite. For carboxyl-rich coprecipitates (Fh-PGA and Fh-CA), mineral transformations were less inhibited than in the carboxyl poor Fh-GA, and a crystalline lepidocrocite "shell" was formed surrounding the residual ferrihydrite core. However, Fe isotope analysis revealed that all coprecipitates underwent near complete atom exchange. Collectively, our results highlight that ferrihydrite is indeed an active mineral phase in redox-dynamic environments, but that its stability under reducing conditions, and thus capacity for nutrient and trace element retention, depends on the chemical characteristic of the associated OM, specifically OM-induced changes in the particle surface charge and the distribution of organic functional groups.
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