Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2008, Vol.72(4), pp.1128-1142
Ferrihydrite (Fh) coprecipitated with exopolymers of plants and microbes may differ in its geochemical reactivity from its abiotic counterpart. We synthesized Fh in the presence and absence of acid polysaccharides (polygalacturonic acid (PGA), alginate, xanthan) and characterized the physical and structural properties of the precipitates formed [Mikutta C., Mikutta R., Bonneville S., Wagner F., Voegelin A., Christl I. and Kretzschmar R. (2008) Synthetic coprecipitates of exopolysaccharides and ferrihydrite. Part I: Characterization. ]. In this paper, we focus on the reactivity of PGA and alginate coprecipitates and pure Fh, and studied their interaction with the microbial siderophore desferrioxamine B (DFOB) in the presence and absence of low molecular weight organic (LMWO) acid anions (malate, citrate). Batch adsorption and dissolution experiments were performed in the dark at pH 7 in 10 mM NaClO background electrolyte. In the dissolution experiments, different modes of ligand addition were applied (single, simultaneous, stepwise). With an estimated Langmuir sorption maximum of 15 mmol/mol Fe, a PGA coprecipitate with 11% C sorbed about four times as much DFOB as pure Fh, and the amount of DFOB sorbed was ∼4-fold larger than estimated from the sum of DFOB sorption to pure Fh and PGA alone. The apparent initial dissolution rates, , and pseudo-first order rate coefficients, , of the coprecipitates exceeded those of pure Fh by up to two orders of magnitude. Citrate and malate exerted a strong synergistic effect on the DFOB-promoted dissolution of pure Fh, whereas synergistic effects of both anions were absent or negligible for the coprecipitates. of the citrate and DFOB-promoted dissolution of PGA coprecipitates increased with increasing molar C/Fe ratio of the coprecipitates, independent of the charge of the LMWO ligand. Our results indicate that polyuronates stabilize Fh particles sterically and /or electrostatically, thus increasing the mineral surface area accessible to LMWO ligands. In contrast, pure Fh was coagulated at pH 7 (pH of Fh = 7.1), and hence only a small fraction of the Fh surface underwent dissolution. The increase in ligand-accessible surface area of Fh upon coprecipitation with acid polysaccharides seems to primarily control the kinetics of the ligand-promoted dissolution at neutral pH. In pH environments where the solubility of Fe(III) is very low, dissolution rates of Fe(III) (hydr)oxides in such coprecipitates may therefore exceed those of pure minerals by several orders of magnitude, despite a similar crystallinity of the minerals.
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