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Toxics 2017, 5(3), 18; doi:10.3390/toxics5030018

Differential Effects of Low-Molecular-Weight Organic Acids on the Mobilization of Soil-Borne Arsenic and Trace Metals

School of Environment and Life Science, University of Salford, Greater Manchester M5 4WT, UK
Key Laboratory of Agro-Environment in the Tropics, Ministry of Agriculture, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 510642, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Carmen Corada-Fernández, Javier Valdes-Abellan and Lucila Candela
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 August 2017 / Published: 21 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fate and Transport of Contaminants in Soil and Groundwater Systems)
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A batch experiment was conducted to examine the effects of six low-molecular-weight organic acids on the mobilization of arsenic and trace metals from a range of contaminated soils. The results showed that the organic acids behaved differently when reacting with soil-borne As and trace metals. Oxalic acid and acetic acid had the strongest and weakest capacity to mobilize the investigated elements, respectively. The solubilisation of iron oxides by the organic acids appears to play a critical role in mobilizing other trace metals and As. Apart from acidification and complexation, reductive dissolution played a dominant role in the dissolution of iron oxides in the presence of oxalic acid, while acidification tended to be more important for dissolving iron oxides in the presence of other organic acids. The unique capacity of oxalic acid to solubilize iron oxides tended to affect the mobilization of other elements in different ways. For Cu, Mn, and Zn, acidification-driven mobilization was likely to be dominant while complexation might play a major role in Pb mobilization. The formation of soluble Fe and Pb oxalate complexes could effectively prevent arsenate or arsenite from combining with these metals to form solid phases of Fe or Pb arsenate or arsenite. View Full-Text
Keywords: organic acid; arsenic; trace metal; mobilization; complexation; reductive dissolution organic acid; arsenic; trace metal; mobilization; complexation; reductive dissolution

Figure 1a

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Nworie, O.E.; Qin, J.; Lin, C. Differential Effects of Low-Molecular-Weight Organic Acids on the Mobilization of Soil-Borne Arsenic and Trace Metals. Toxics 2017, 5, 18.

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