Fe(II)-mediated reduction and repartitioning of structurally incorporated Cu, Co, and Mn in iron oxides

Andrew James Frierdich, Jeffrey G Catalano

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35 Citations (Scopus)


The reduction of trace elements and contaminants by Fe(II) at Fe(III) oxide surfaces is well documented. However, the effect of aqueous Fe(II) on the fate of redox-active trace elements structurally incorporated into iron oxides is unknown. Here, we investigate the fate of redox-active elements during Fe(II)-activated recrystallization of Cu-, Co-, and Mn-substituted goethite and hematite. Enhanced release of Cu, Co, and Mn to solution occurs upon exposure of all materials to aqueous Fe(II) relative to reactions in Fe(II)-free fluids. The quantity of trace element release increases with pH when Fe(II) is present but decreases with increasing pH in the absence of Fe(II). Co and Mn release from goethite is predicted well using a second-order kinetic model, consistent with the release of redox-inactive elements such as Ni and Zn. However, Cu release and Co and Mn release from hematite require the sum of two rates to adequately model the kinetic data. Greater uptake of Fe(II) by Cu-, Co-, and Mn-substituted iron oxides relative to analogues containing only redox-inactive elements suggests that net Fe(II) oxidation occurs. Reduction of Cu, Co, and Mn in all materials following reaction with Fe(II) at pHs 7.0-7.5 is confirmed by X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy. This work shows that redox-sensitive elements structurally incorporated within iron oxides are reduced and repartitioned into fluids during Fe(II)-mediated recrystallization. Such abiotic reactions likely operate in tandem with partial microbial and abiotic iron reduction or during the migration of Fe(II)-containing fluids, mobilizing structurally bound contaminants and micronutrients in aquatic systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11070 - 11077
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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