Effects of Citrate and Arginine on Sorption of Nickel to Yazd Sepiolite and Calcite

Document Type : Research Article


Isfahan University of Technology


Introduction: Pollution of soil and water environment by release of heavy metals is of great concerns of the last decades. Sorption of heavy metals by low cost materials is considered as an inexpensive and efficient method used for removal of heavy metals from soil-water systems. The presence of different ligands with various complexing abilities can change the sorption properties of heavy metals and their fate in the environment as well. In order to assess the effect of citrate and arginine as natural organic ligands in soil environment, in a batch study we investigated the effects of these ligands on equilibrium sorption of nickel to sepiolite and calcite minerals and also kinetics of Ni sorption by these minerals.
Materials and Methods: Minerals used in this study included sepiolite from Yazd (Iran) and pure calcite (Analytical grade, Merck, Germany). Sepiolite was purified, saturated with Ca using 0.5 M CaCl2, powdered in a mortar and sieved by non-metal 230 mesh standard wire sieve. For equilibrium sorption study, in a 50-mL polyethylene centrifuge tube,0.3 g sample of each mineral was suspended in 30 mL of a 0.01 M CaCl2 solution containing 0, 5, 10, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 mg L-1 Ni (NiCl2) and containing zero (as control) or 0.1mmol L-1 citrate or arginine ligands. The applied concentrationsfor each ligand can naturally occur in soils. Preparedtubes were shaken (180±2 rpm, 25±1oC) for 24 h using an orbital shaker and centrifuged (4000×g for 10 min) and the supernatants were analyzed for Ni concentration using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAnalyst 200 Perkin-Elmer) at a wavelength of 232 nm and a detection limit of 0.05 mg L-1. The quantity of Ni retained by each mineral at equilibrium was calculated using equation qe = (Ci - Ce)V/W where qe was the amount of nickel retained by mineral surface at equilibrium. Ci and Ce were the initial and the equilibrium concentrations (mg L-1) of Ni, respectively, V was the volume (L) of the solution, and W was the mass (g) of the sorbent. The Langmuir, Freundlich and linear isotherm models were fitted to sorption data using Graphpad prism 5.0. For kinetic study,30 mL of 0.01 M CaCl2 solution, with or without 0.1 mM citrate or arginine, containing Ni at a concentration corresponding to the maximum sorption capacity of each mineral (estimated from sorption isotherms) were transferred into 50-ml polyethylene centrifuge tubes containing 0.3 g of sepiolite or calcite. The suspensions were shaken (180±2 rpm, 25 °C) continuously and after 0.5, 1.5, 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 hours, corresponding tubes were centrifuged (4000×g for 10 min) and supernatants were analyzed for Ni concentration by atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Using Graphpad prism 5.0, kinetic data were fitted to Pseudo-first order, pseudo-second order and power function kinetic models.
Results: With or without ligands, the Langmuir model was the best description of Ni sorption to sepiolite while the linear model was the best fit of calcite data showing the physical nature of Ni sorption by this mineral. Kinetics of Ni sorption to sepiolite and calcite were best described by power function model. In the presence of citrate, both capacity and rate of sorption of Ni to sepiolite decreased. There was no considerable change in sorption of Ni to calcite. In the presence of arginine, however, sorption capacity of minerals for Ni increased. Arginine enhanced the rate of Ni sorption on all three minerals. Citrate showed opposing effects on Ni sorption kinetics depending on the studied minerals. Totally, citrate and arginine had opposite effects on sorption of Ni to sepiolite and calcite.
Conclusion: Organic ligands can change sorption characteristics of the minerals. It seems that citrate decreases sorption of Ni to sepiolite but its effect on Ni sorption to calcite is negligible, while arginine increases Ni sorption to both minerals. Our results suggested that presence of citrate and arginine in soil influence Ni sorption by soil minerals. As in warmer seasons of year,microbial activities due to optimum temperature and moisture result in production of citrate and argininewhich facilitate and suppress uptake of Ni by plants respectively. Production of citrate in soil may increase risk of Ni contamination of underground and surface water sources while arginine can decrease soil solution Ni and in turn the risk of water contamination.


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