Controls on Fe(II)-activated trace element release from goethite and hematite

Andrew James Frierdich, Jeffrey G Catalano

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88 Citations (Scopus)


Electron transfer and atom exchange (ETAE) between aqueous Fe(II) and Fe(III) oxides induces surface growth and dissolution that affects trace element fate and transport. We have recently demonstrated Ni(II) cycling through goethite and hematite (adsorbed Ni incorporates into the mineral structure and preincorporated Ni releases to solution) during Fe(II)-Fe(III) ETAE. However, the chemical parameters affecting net trace element release remain unknown. Here, we examine the chemical controls on Ni(II) and Zn(II) release from Ni- and Zn-substituted goethite and hematite during reaction with Fe(II). Release follows a rate law consistent with surface reaction limited mineral dissolution and suggests that release occurs near sites of Fe(III) reductive dissolution during Fe(II)-Fe(III) ETAE. Metal substituent type affects reactivity; Zn release is more pronounced from hematite than goethite, whereas the opposite trend occurs for Ni. Buildup of Ni or Zn in solution inhibits further release but this resumes upon fluid exchange, suggesting that sustained release is possible under flow conditions. Mineral and aqueous Fe(II) concentrations as well as pH strongly affect sorbed Fe(II) concentrations, which directly control the reaction rates and final metal concentrations. Our results demonstrate that structurally incorporated trace elements are mobilized from iron oxides into fluids without abiotic or microbial net iron reduction. Such release may affect micronutrient availability, contaminant transport, and the distribution of redox-inactive trace elements in natural and engineered systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1519 - 1526
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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