Characterization of Colloidal Fe from Soils using Field-Flow Fractionation and Fe K-edge X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy.

Environmental science & technology

PubMedID: 24601526

Regelink IC, Voegelin A, Weng L, Koopmans GF, Comans RN. Characterization of Colloidal Fe from Soils using Field-Flow Fractionation and Fe K-edge X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy. Environ Sci Technol. 2014;.
Colloids may facilitate the transport of trace elements and nutrients like phosphate in soil. In this study, we characterized soil colloids (<0.45 ┬Ám), extracted from four agricultural soils by Na-bicarbonate and Na-pyrophosphate, by two complementary analytical techniques; asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation (AF4) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). The combined results from AF4 and XAS show that colloidal Fe is present as (i) free Fe-(hydr)oxide nanoparticles, (ii) Fe-(hydr)oxides associated with clay minerals and as (iii) Fe in clay minerals. Free Fe-(hydr)oxide nanoparticles, which can be as small as 2-5 nm, are extracted with Na-pyrophosphate but not with Na-bicarbonate, except for one soil. In contrast, Fe-(hydr)oxides associated with clay minerals are dispersed by both extractants. XAS results show that the speciation of Fe in the colloidal fractions closely resembles the speciation of Fe in the bulk soil, indicating that dispersion of colloidal Fe from the studied soils was rather unselective. In one Fe-rich soil, colloidal Fe was dominantly dispersed in the form of free Fe-(hydr)oxide nanoparticles. In the other three soils, dispersed Fe-(hydr)oxides were dominantly associated with clay minerals, suggesting that their dispersion as free nanoparticles was inhibited by strong attachment. However, in these soils, Fe-(hydr)oxides can be dispersed as oxide-clay associations and may as such facilitate the transport of trace elements.