Indexed on: 11 Nov '06Published on: 11 Nov '06Published in: Journal of Colloid and Interface Science
Low-molecular-weight (LMW) organic acids may be adsorbed by soils and the adsorption could affect their biodegradation and efficiency in many soil processes. In the present study, the adsorption of phthalic acid and salicylic acid and their effect on the exchangeable Al capacity of variable-charge soils were investigated. The results indicated that phthalic acid and salicylic acid were adsorbed by four variable-charge soils to some extent, oxisols showed a greater adsorption capacity for organic acids than ultisols, and the ability of the four variable-charge soils to adsorb the organic acids at different pH generally followed the order Kunming oxisol > Xuwen oxisol > Jinxian ultisol > Lechang ultisol, which was closely related to their content of free iron oxides and amorphous iron and aluminum oxides. The adsorption of organic acids induced a decrease in the zeta potentials of soils and oxides. Goethite has greater adsorption capacity for organic acid than Xuwen oxisol and the adsorption of organic acids resulted in a bigger decrease in the zeta potential of goethite suspensions. After free iron oxides were removed, less organic acid was adsorbed by Xuwen oxisol and no change was observed in zeta potential for the soil suspension after organic acid was added. The presence of phthalic acid increased the capacity of exchangeable Al and the increment in the four variable-charge soils also followed the order Kunming oxisol > Xuwen oxisol > Lechang ultisol and Jinxian ultisol. The presence of salicylic acid increased the capacity of exchangeable Al in Kunming oxisol, Xuwen oxisol, and Jinxian ultisol, but decreased it in Lechang ultisol due to less adsorption of the acid and formation of soluble Al-salicylate complexes in solution. After free iron oxides were removed, less effect of organic acid on exchangeable Al was observed for Xuwen oxisol, which further confirmed that the iron oxides played a significant role in organic acid adsorption and had a consequent effect on the capacity of exchangeable Al in variable-charge soils. Therefore, the higher the content of iron oxides, the greater the adsorption of organic acids by soils and the greater the increase in soil exchangeable Al induced by the organic acids.