The Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, Eprints Archive

Adsorption and desorption dynamics of citric acid anions in soil

Oburger, E. and Leitner, D. and Jones, D. L. and Zygalakis, K. C. and Schnepf, A. and Roose, T. (2010) Adsorption and desorption dynamics of citric acid anions in soil. Geochimica and Cosmochimica Acta . (Submitted)



The functional role of organic acid anions (e.g. citrate, oxalate, malonate, etc) in soil has been intensively investigated with special focus either on (i) microbial respiration and soil carbon dynamics, (ii) nutrient solubilization, or (iii) metal detoxification. Considering the potential impact of sorption processes on the functional significance of these effects, comparatively little is known about the adsorption and desorption dynamics of organic acid anions in soils. The aim of this study therefore was to experimentally characterize the adsorption and desorption dynamics of organic acid anions in different soils using citrate as a model carboxylate. Results showed that both adsorption and desorption processes were fast, reaching a steady state equilibrium solution concentration within approximately 1 hour. However, for a given total soil citrate concentration(ctot) the steady state value obtained was critically dependent on the starting conditions of the experiment (i.e. whether most of the citrate was initially present in solution (cl) or held on the solid phase (cs)). Specifically, desorption-led processes resulted in significantly lower equilibrium solution concentrations than adsorption led processes indicating time-dependent sorption hysteresis. As it is not possible to experimentally distinguish between different sorption pools in soil (i.e. fast, slow, irreversible adsorption/desorption), a new dynamic hysteresis model was developed that relies only on measured soil solution concentrations. The model satisfactorily explained experimental data and was able to predict dynamic adsorption and desorption behaviour. To demonstrate its use we applied the model to two relevant scenarios (exudation and microbial degradation), where the dynamic sorption behaviour of citrate occurs. Overall, this study highlights the complex nature of citrate sorption in soil and concludes that existing models need to incorporate both a temporal and sorption hysteresis component to realistically describe the role and fate of organic acids in soil processes.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:D - G > General
Research Groups:Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics
ID Code:1039
Deposited By:Peter Hudston
Deposited On:07 Jan 2011 08:43
Last Modified:09 Feb 2012 15:48

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