• Journal Article

Sorption of arsenic to biogenic iron (oxyhydr)oxides produced in circumneutral environments


Sowers, T. D., Harrington, J. M., Polizzotto, M. L., & Duckworth, O. W. (2017). Sorption of arsenic to biogenic iron (oxyhydr)oxides produced in circumneutral environments. Geochmica et Cosmochimica Acta, 198, 194-207. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2016.10.049


Arsenic (As) is a widespread and problematic pollutant that can be derived from natural or anthropogenic sources. Iron (oxyhydr) oxides readily sorb As and thus play critical roles in As cycling in terrestrial environments; however, little is known about the affinity and mechanism of As sorption by biogenic iron (oxyhydr) oxides formed in circumneutral environments. To investigate this, we conducted sorption isotherm and kinetics experiments to compare As(V) and As(III) sorption to synthetic 2-line ferrihydrite and iron biominerals harvested from the hyporheic zone of an uncontaminated creek. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used to quantify both As(V) and As(III), and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) was utilized to obtain As and Fe K-edge spectra for As(V) and As(III) sorbed to environmentally collected and laboratory produced Fe(III) minerals. All environmental Fe(III) biominerals were determined to be structurally similar to 2-line ferrihydrite. However, environmental Fe(III) biominerals have a surface area normalized affinity for As(V) and for As(III) that is greater than or equivalent to synthetic 2-line ferrihydrite. Whereas the extent of sorption was similar for As(III) on all minerals, As(V) sorption to environmental Fe(III) biominerals was approximately three times higher than what was observed for synthetic 2-line ferrihydrite. Structural modeling of EXAFS spectra revealed that the same surface complexation structure was formed by As(V) and by As(III) on environmental Fe(III) biominerals and ferrihydrite. These results suggest that, despite similarities in binding mechanisms, Fe(III) biominerals may be more reactive sorbents that synthetic surrogates often used to model environmental reactivity. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.