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Relative Importance of Solid-Phase Phosphorus and Iron on the Sorption Behavior of Sediments

Author(s): Zhang, Jia-Zhong; Xiao-Lan Huang


Name of Publisher: American Chemical Society

Publication Type: Journal Article

Journal Title: Environmental Science & Technology

Date of Publication: 2007

Reference Information: 41(8): pp. 2789-2795

Keywords: phosphorus; iron; metals; sediments; sorption; Florida Bay; seawater chemistry

Abstract: Of all the metal oxide particles, amorphous iron oxides have the greatest adsorption capacity for phosphate. Coastal sediments are often coated with terrigenous amorphous iron oxides, and those containing high iron are thought to have a high adsorption capacity. However, this conventional wisdom is based largely upon studies of phosphate adsorption on laboratory-synthesized minerals themselves containing no phosphorus. Using natural sediments that contain variable phosphorus and iron, our results demonstrate that the exchangeable phosphate rather than the iron oxides of sediments governs the overall sorption behavior. The iron oxide content becomes important only in sediments that are poor in phosphorus. A total of 40 sampling sites across the Florida Bay provide detailed spatial distributions both of the sediment's zero equilibrium phosphate concentration (EPC0) and of the distribution coefficient (Kd) that are consistent with the distribution of the exchangeable phosphate content of the sediment. This study provides the first quantitative relationships between sorption characteristics (EPC0 and Kd) and the exchangeable phosphate content of natural sediments.

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