Environmental science & technology, 20 June 2017, Vol.51(12), pp.6897-6907
In freshwater wetlands, organic flocs are often found enriched in trace metal(loid)s associated with poorly crystalline Fe(III)-(oxyhydr)oxides. Under reducing conditions, flocs may become exposed to aqueous Fe(II), triggering Fe(II)-catalyzed mineral transformations and trace metal(loid) release. In this study, pure ferrihydrite, a synthetic ferrihydrite-polygalacturonic acid coprecipitate (16.7 wt % C), and As- (1280 and 1230 mg/kg) and organic matter (OM)-rich (18.1 and 21.8 wt % C) freshwater flocs dominated by ferrihydrite and nanocrystalline lepidocrocite were reacted with an isotopically enriched Fe(II) solution (0.1 or 1.0 mM Fe(II)) at pH 5.5 and 7. Using a combination of wet chemistry, Fe isotope analysis, X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, we followed the Fe atom exchange kinetics and secondary mineral formation over 1 week. When reacted with Fe(II) at pH 7, pure ferrihydrite exhibited rapid Fe atom exchange at both Fe(II) concentrations, reaching 76 and 89% atom exchange in experiments with 0.1 and 1 mM Fe(II), respectively. XAS data revealed that it transformed into goethite (21%) at the lower Fe(II) concentration and into lepidocrocite (73%) and goethite (27%) at the higher Fe(II) concentration. Despite smaller Fe mineral particles in the coprecipitate and flocs as compared to pure ferrihydrite (inferred from Mössbauer-derived blocking temperatures), these samples showed reduced Fe atom exchange (9-30% at pH 7) and inhibited secondary mineral formation. No release of As was recorded for Fe(II)-reacted flocs. Our findings indicate that carbohydrate-rich OM in flocs stabilizes poorly crystalline Fe minerals against Fe(II)-catalyzed transformation by surface-site blockage and/or organic Fe(II) complexation. This hinders the extent of Fe atom exchange at mineral surfaces and secondary mineral formation, which may consequently impair Fe(II)-activated trace metal(loid) release. Thus, under short-term Fe(III)-reducing conditions facilitating the fast attainment of solid-solution equilibria (e.g., in stagnant waters), Fe-rich freshwater flocs are expected to remain an effective sink for trace elements.
Fresh Water ; Iron ; Iron Isotopes
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