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FTIR Spectroscopic Structural Characterization of Forest Topsoil Humic Substances and Their Adsorption and Desorption for Mercury

Zhang, Yi-Ran1; Xue, Tong1; Wang, Ren-Qing1,2,3; Dai, Jiu-Lan1,2,3

Soil Science:
doi: 10.1097/SS.0000000000000001
Technical Article

Abstract: A series of batch experiments were conducted to determine the adsorption and desorption characteristics of divalent mercury (Hg(II)) by six humic substances (HS) (three humic acids (HA) and three fulvic acids) extracted from three dark brown forest soils from Mount Tai, Laoshan Mountain, and Fanggan in Shandong Province, China. It was found that Hg(II) adsorption isotherms could be well fitted with both Langmuir and Freundlich equations. The three HA had larger adsorption intensity and adsorptive capacity than those of the three fulvic acids. The desorbed percentages of the three HA were less than 2.6%, which suggests that HA had a high binding strength for Hg(II). As the HA showed stronger adsorptive intensity and lower desorption ratio for Hg(II), the HA might play an important role in the adsorption/desorption processes in soil for Hg(II). The Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy showed that the six HS contained the same function groups and that the adsorption of Hg(II) on HS was mostly a result of ion exchange and the formation of hydrogen bonds, which may take place on the carbonyls (C=O), carboxyls (COO-), hydroxyls (O-H), and C-O of the HS.

Author Information

1Environment Research Institute, Shandong University, Jinan, China.

2Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, College of Life Science, Shandong University, Jinan, China.

3Shandong Provincial Engineering and Technology Research Center for Vegetation Ecology, Shandong University, Jinan, China.

Address for correspondence: Dr. Jiu-Lan Dai, Environment Research Institute, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China. E-mail:

Yi-Ran Zhang and Tong Xue contributed equally to this work.

Financial Disclosures/Conflicts of Interest: This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30970166/40801088), the Science and Technology Development Plan Project of Shandong Province (No. 2012G0021706), and the Shandong Environmental Protection Bureau (No. 2006007).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received October 11, 2012.

Accepted for publication August 25, 2013.

© 2013Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins