Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 30, pp 23598–23606 | Cite as

Streaming potential method for characterizing interaction of electrical double layers between rice roots and Fe/Al oxide-coated quartz in situ

  • Zhao-dong Liu
  • Hai-cui Wang
  • Jiu-yu Li
  • Ren-kou Xu
Research Article


The interaction between rice roots and Fe/Al oxide-coated quartz was investigated through zeta potential measurements and column leaching experiments in present study. The zeta potentials of rice roots, Fe/Al oxide-coated quartz, and the binary systems containing rice roots and Fe/Al oxide-coated quartz were measured by a specially constructed streaming potential apparatus. The interactions between rice roots and Fe/Al oxide-coated quartz particles were evaluated/deduced based on the differences of zeta potentials between the binary systems and the single system of rice roots. The zeta potentials of the binary systems moved in positive directions compared with that of rice roots, suggesting that there were overlapping of diffuse layers of electric double layers on positively charged Fe/Al oxide-coated quartz and negatively charged rice roots and neutralization of positive charge on Fe/Al oxide-coated quartz with negative charge on rice roots. The greater amount of positive charges on Al oxide led to the stronger interaction of Al oxide-coated quartz with rice roots and the more shift of zeta potential compared with Fe oxide. The overlapping of diffuse layers on Fe/Al oxide-coated quartz and rice roots was confirmed by column leaching experiments. The greater overlapping of diffuse layers on Al oxide and rice roots led to more simultaneous adsorptions of K+ and NO3 and greater reduction in leachate electric conductivity when the column containing Al oxide-coated quartz and rice roots was leached with KNO3 solution, compared with the columns containing rice roots and Fe oxide-coated quartz or quartz. When the KNO3 solution was replaced with deionized water to flush the columns, more K+ and NO3 were desorbed from the binary system containing Al oxide-coated quartz and rice roots than from other two binary systems, suggesting that the stronger electrostatic interaction between Al oxide and rice roots promoted the desorption of K+ and NO3 from the binary system and enhanced overlapping of diffuse layers on these oppositely charged surfaces compared with other two binary systems. In conclusion, the overlapping of diffuse layers occurred between positively charged Fe/Al oxides and rice roots, which led to neutralization of opposite charge and affected adsorption and desorption of ions onto and from the charged surfaces of Fe/Al oxides and rice roots.


Electric double layers Fe oxide Al oxide Rice roots Surface charge Ion adsorption 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhao-dong Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hai-cui Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiu-yu Li
    • 1
  • Ren-kou Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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