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Structural characteristics of humic-like acid from microbial utilization of lignin involving different mineral types

Abstract

This paper determines the impact of two clay minerals (kaolinite and montmorillonite) and three oxides (goethite, δ-MnO2, and bayerite) on the elemental composition and FTIR spectra of humic-like acid (HLA) extracted from microbial-mineral residue formed from the microbial utilization of lignin in liquid shake flask cultivation. Goethite, bayerite, and δ-MnO2 showed higher enrichment capabilities of C and O + S in the HLA than kaolinite and montmorillonite. Goethite showed the highest retention of organic C, followed by bayerite, but kaolinite exhibited the least exchangeability. Kaolinite and montmorillonite enhanced microbial consumption of N, resulting in the absence of N in HLA. A few aliphatic fractions were preferentially gathered on the surfaces of kaolinite and montmorillonite, making the H/C ratios of HLA from the clay mineral treatments higher than those of HLA from the oxide treatments. δ-MnO2 was considered the most effective catalyst for abiotic humification, and goethite and bayerite ranked second and third in this regard. This trend was proportional to their specific surface areas (SSAs). However, comparing the effects of different treatments on the promotion of HLA condensation by relying solely on the SSA of minerals was not sufficient, and other influencing mechanisms had to be considered as well. Additionally, Si–O–Al and Si–O of kaolinite participated in HLA formation, and Si–OH, Si–O, and Si–O–Al of montmorillonite also contributed to this biological process. Fe–O and phenolic –OH of goethite, Mn–O of δ-MnO2, and Al–O of bayerite were all involved in HLA formation through ligand exchange and cation bridges. Lignin was better protected from microbial decomposition by the kaolinite, bayerite, and δ-MnO2 treatments, which caused lignin-like humus (HS) formation. Under the treatments of δ-MnO2, goethite, and bayerite, HLA showed a greater degree of condensation compared to HLA precipitated by kaolinite and montmorillonite. Contributions from Si–O, and Si–O–Al of clay minerals, and Fe–O, Mn–O, and Al–O of oxides were the mechanisms by which minerals catalyzed the formation of HS from lignin.

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Funding

This research work was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (funding number 2018YFD0300207-1), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (funding number 41401251), and the Seeded Foundation of Jilin Agricultural Science and Technology University (funding number 20187004).

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Wang, S., Xu, J., Zhang, X. et al. Structural characteristics of humic-like acid from microbial utilization of lignin involving different mineral types . Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 23923–23936 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-05664-3

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Keywords

  • Humus
  • Humic-like acid
  • Mineral type
  • Lignin
  • Elemental composition
  • FTIR spectra