Comparative sorption and mobility of Cr(III) and Cr(VI) species in a range of soils: implications to bioavailability

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Choppala, G, Bolan, N, Lamb, D & Kunhikrishnan, A 2013, 'Comparative sorption and mobility of Cr(III) and Cr(VI) species in a range of soils: implications to bioavailability', Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, vol. 224, art. 1699.

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The sorption of chromium (Cr) species to soil has become the focus of research as it dictates the bioavailability and also the magnitude of toxicity of Cr. The sorption of two environmentally important Cr species [Cr(III) and Cr(VI)] was examined using batch sorption, and the data were fitted to Langmuir and Freundlich adsorption isotherms. The effects of soil properties such as pH, CEC, organic matter (OM), clay, water-extractable SO4 2– and PO4 3–, surface charge, and different iron (Fe) fractions of 12 different Australian representative soils on the sorption, and mobility of Cr(III) and Cr(VI) were examined. The amount of sorption as shown by K f was higher for Cr(III) than Cr(VI) in all tested soils. Further, the amount of Cr(III) sorbed increased with an increase in pH, CEC, clay, and OM of soils. Conversely, the chemical properties of soil such as positive charge and Fe (crystalline) had a noticeable influence on the sorption of Cr(VI). Desorption of Cr(VI) occurred rapidly and was greater than desorption of Cr(III) in soils. The mobility of Cr species as estimated by the retardation factor was higher for Cr(VI) than for Cr(III) in all tested soils. These results concurred with the results from leaching experiments which showed higher leaching of Cr(VI) than Cr(III) in both acidic and alkaline soils indicating the higher mobility of Cr(VI) in a wide range of soils. This study demonstrated that Cr(VI) is more mobile and will be bioavailable in soils regardless of soil properties and if not remediated may eventually pose a severe threat to biota.

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