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.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 26, 2018
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