Eurasian Soil Science

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 22–28 | Cite as

Effect of organic acids on the adsorption of copper, lead, and zinc by goethite

  • L. V. PerelomovEmail author
  • D. L. Pinskiy
  • A. Violante
Soil Chemistry


The adsorption of Cu, Pb, and Zn by synthetic goethite was studied in the absence and presence of oxalic, citric, and glutamic acids at different pH values. It was shown that, in the absence of an acid, the content of adsorbed metals increased with the increasing pH. The content of adsorbed cations at constant pH values decreased in the sequence: Cu > Pb > Zn. The simultaneous addition of metal cations and organic acids to the goethite suspension increased the content of the adsorbed elements. The oxalic and citric acids had similar effects on the adsorption of copper and lead in the studied pH range. The metal: acid concentration ratios significantly affected the adsorption of the heavy metals by goethite. An increase in the metal adsorption was observed to a certain metal: acid ratio, which was followed by a gradual decrease. The adsorption of the metals by goethite also depended on the properties of the metal cations and the organic ligands. The observed tendencies were attributed to the complexation of heavy metals with organic acid anions and the simultaneous sorption of acids at positively charged sites on the goethite surface with the formation of mineral-organic compounds, which significantly modified the surface properties of the mineral. The study of the effect of increasing lead concentrations in the solution on the copper adsorption by goethite in the absence, in the presence, and at the addition of an oxalic acid solution to the goethite suspension one hour before the beginning of the experiment showed that lead decreased the adsorption of copper in all the treatments. The possible mechanisms of the processes occurring in the system were considered.


Oxalic Acid EURASIAN Soil Science Metal Ratio Oxalic Acid Solution Organic Acid Anion 
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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tula State UniversityTulaRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil ScienceRussian Academy of SciencesPushchino, Moscow oblastRussia
  3. 3.University of Naples Federico IIPortichi (Naples)Italy

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