The copper complexation ability of a synthetic humic-like acid formed by an abiotic humification process and the effect of experimental factors on its copper complexation ability

Research Article
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Abstract

Humic acids have an important impact on the distribution, toxicity, and bioavailability of hazardous metals in the environment. In this study, a synthetic humic-like acid (SHLA) was prepared by an abiotic humification process using catechol and glycine as humic precursors and a MnO2 catalyst. The effect of physico-chemical conditions (ionic strength from 0.01 to 0.5 M NaNO3, pH from 4 to 8, temperature from 25 to 45 °C, and humic acid concentration from 5 to 100 mg/L) on the complexation ability of SHLA for Cu2+ were investigated. A commercial humic acid (CHA, CAS: 1415-93-6) from Sigma-Aldrich was also studied for comparison. The results showed that for pH 4 to 8, the conditional stability constants (log K) of SHLA and CHA were in the range 5.63–8.62 and 4.87–6.23, respectively, and complexation capacities (CC) were 1.34–2.61 and 1.42–2.31 mmol/g, respectively. The Cu complexation ability of SHLA was higher than that of the CHA due to its higher number of acidic functional groups (SHLA 19.19 mmol/g; CHA 3.87 mmol/g), extent of humification and aromaticity (AL/AR: 0.333 (SHLA); 1.554 (CHA)), and O-alkyl functional groups (SHLA 15.56%; CHA 3.45%). The log K and complexation efficiency (fraction of metal bound to SHLA) of SHLA were higher at higher pH, lower ionic strength, higher temperature, and higher SHLA concentration. Overall, SHLA was a good and promising complexation agent for copper in both soil washing of copper contaminated soil and the treatment of copper-containing wastewater.

Keywords

Abiotic humification Synthetic humic-like acid Copper Complexation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the China Scholarship Council and Environment Department, University of York for funding the PhD work. We also appreciate the technical assistance received for FTIR, 13C-NMR (University of York) and for elemental analysis (University of Leeds).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1836_MOESM1_ESM.docx (259 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 259 kb)

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environment DepartmentUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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