Interactions Between Natural Organic Matter Fractions and Nanoscale Zero-Valent Iron

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Science of the Total Environment



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The presence of natural organic matter (NOM) in groundwater could play an important role in the removal of contaminants by nanoscale zero-valent iron (NZVI). NOM has a heterogeneous structure and can be divided into 6 fractions based on polarity and charges: hydrophobic acid (HPOA), hydrophobic base (HPOB), hydrophobic neutral (HPON), hydrophilic acid (HPIA), hydrophilic base (HPIB), and hydrophilic neutral (HPIN). The objective of this study was to evaluate the interactions between NOM fractions and NZVI using two approaches: 1) the interaction between NOM fraction isolates and NZVI and 2) bulk NOM fractionation before and after reaction with NZVI. Two sources of NOM—groundwater (GWNOM), Khon Kaen, Thailand and Suwannee River NOM (SRNOM), USA—were examined. The isolated NOM had more interactions with NZVI at pH 5 compared to pH 7 and 9 for both GWNOM and SRNOM. HPOA of GWNOM had the highest adsorption capacity (qe) of 6.95 mg/g (pH 5), and that was also the case for HPIA of SRNOM (18.66 mg/g, pH 5). HPIN of both GWNOM and SRNOM yielded the lowest qe among the six fractions. The adsorption capacities of NOM fractions were well correlated with specific ultraviolet absorbance. Fluorescence excitation–emission spectra revealed that protein-like components preferentially reacted with NZVI. The results of bulk NOM fractionation after reacting with NZVI indicated that NOM not only adsorbed on NZVI but also reacted with NZVI and transformed to become more hydrophilic and neutral. This study's findings suggest that different NOM fractions had varying interactions with NZVI. The acid fractions tended to interact more than the other fractions. This work provides a deeper understanding of the reactivity between NOM and NZVI.


Fractionation; Groundwater; Nanoscale zero-valent iron; Natural organic matter; Reactivity; Suwannee River


Chemistry | Environmental Chemistry | Physical Sciences and Mathematics



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