Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2010, Vol.74(19), pp.5574-5592
In oxic environments contaminated with arsenate (As(V)), small polyhydroxycarboxylates such as citrate may impact the structure of precipitating ferrihydrite (Fh) and thus the surface speciation of As(V). In this study, ‘2-line’ Fh was precipitated from ferric nitrate solutions that were neutralized to pH 6.5 in the presence of increasing citrate concentrations and in the absence or presence of As(V). The initial citrate/Fe and As/Fe ratios were 0–50 mol% and 5 mol%, respectively. The reaction products, enriched with up to 0.32 mol citrate per mole Fe, were characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and Fe and As K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Citrate decreased the particle size of Fh by impairing the polymerization of Fe(O,OH) octahedra via edge and corner linkages. In the presence of citrate and As(V), coordination numbers of Fe decreased by up to 28% relative to pure Fh. Citrate significantly reduced the static disorder of Fe–O bonds, implying a decreased octahedral distortion in Fh. Mean bond distances in Fh were not affected by citrate and remained constant within error at 1.98 Å for Fe–O, 3.03 Å for Fe–Fe1, and 3.45 Å for Fe–Fe2. Likewise, citrate had no effect on the As–Fe (3.31 Å) bond distance in As(V) coprecipitated with Fh. The As K-edge EXAFS data comply with the formation of (i) only monodentate binuclear ( C) As(V) surface complexes and (ii) combinations of C, monodentate mononuclear ( V), and outersphere As(V) surface complexes. Our results suggest that increasing citrate concentrations led to a decreasing V/ C ratio and/or that citrate increasingly impaired the formation of outersphere As(V) complexes. Moreover, citrate stabilized colloidal suspensions of Fh (pH 4.3–6.6, ∼0.45 M) and reduced Fh formation at the expense of soluble Fe(III)-citrate complexes. At initial citrate/Fe ratios ⩾25 mol%, between 8% and 41% of total Fe was bound in Fe(III)-citrate complexes after Fh formation. Polynuclear Fe(III)-citrate species were found to bind As(V) via surface complexes indistinguishable by EXAFS from those of As(V) adsorbed to or coprecipitated with Fh. Our study implies that low molecular weight polyhydroxycarboxylates may enhance the mobility of As(V) in aqueous systems of high ionic strength (e.g., neutralizing acid mine drainage) by colloidal stabilization of suspended Fh particles and the formation of ternary As(V) complexes.
View record in ScienceDirect (Access to full text may be restricted)