Thursday, February 17, 2011

Influence of natural organic matter on As transport and retention.

Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Jan 15;45(2):546-53. Epub 2010 Dec 13.
Sharma P, Rolle M, Kocar B, Fendorf S, Kappler A.
Center for Applied Geosciences, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
Natural organic matter (NOM) can affect the behavior of arsenic within surface and subsurface environments. We used batch and column experiments to determine the effect of peat humic acids (PHA), groundwater fulvic acids (GFA), and a soil organic matter (SOM) extract on As sorption/transport in ferrihydrite-coated sand columns. A reactive transport model was used to quantitatively interpret the transport of As in flow-through column (breakthrough) experiments. We found that As(III) breakthrough was faster than As(V) by up to 18% (with OM) and 14% (without OM). The most rapid breakthrough occurred in systems containing SOM and GFA. Dialysis and ultrafiltration of samples from breakthrough experiments showed that in OM-containing systems, As was transported mostly as free (noncomplexed) dissolved As but also as ternary As-Fe-OM colloids and dissolved complexes. In OM-free systems, As was transported in colloidal form or as a free ion. During desorption, more As(III) desorbed (23-37%) than As(V) (10-16%), and SOM resulted in the highest and OM-free systems the lowest amount of desorption. Overall, our experiments reveal that (i) NOM can enhance transport/mobilization of As, (ii) different fractions of NOM are capable of As mobilization, and (iii) freshly extracted SOM (from a forest soil) had greater impact on As transport than purified GFA/PHA.

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