Arsenite and chromate sequestration onto ferrihydrite, siderite and goethite nanostructured minerals: Isotherms from flow-through reactor experiments and XAS measurements.


Natural Water Treatment Laboratory, Water Researches and Technologies Center (CERTE), Technopark of Borj-Cedria, PO Box 273, Soliman, 8020, Tunisia. Electronic address: [Email]


Sorption isotherms remain a major tool to describe and predict the mobility of pollutants in natural and anthropogenic environments, but they are typically determined by independent batch experiments. In the present study, the sequestration of As(III), Cr(VI) and competitive As(III)-Cr(VI) on/in 6L-ferrihydrite, siderite and goethite nanostructured minerals was reinvestigated using stirred flow-through reactor experiments. Herein, sorption isotherms were particularly determined from breakthrough curves for inert and reactive tracers monitored simultaneously in a single percolation experiment. In complement, X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) was used to identify As sorption sites on 6L-ferrihydrite and goethite. As expected, the minerals have high potential to remove As and Cr from water (siderite = ferrihydrite (about 60 mg/g) > goethite (20 mg/g)). As and Cr sorption isotherms were modelled with a Langmuir model, and with a sigmoidal Hill model in the case of the competitive sorption. XAS measurements have revealed that As(III) was partially oxidized (up to 22%) in the competitive system with chromate oxyanion Cr(VI). As(III) sorbed on ferrihydrite and goethite adopted edge-sharing and corner sharing complex geometries. Nowadays, a new class of adsorbing phases is being developed for wastewater treatment, including engineered nanostructured materials and nanocomposites. The use of flow through reactor experiments as a high throughput method, combined with XAS, should be considered as efficient screening methods to test their sorbing properties on various contaminants.


Flow-through reactor,Heavy metals,Nanostructured iron minerals,Sorption isotherms,Water treatment,