Visualizing the iron atom exchange front in the Fe(II)-catalyzed recrystallization of goethite by atom probe tomography.
ABSTRACT: The autocatalytic redox interaction between aqueous Fe(II) and Fe(III)-(oxyhydr)oxide minerals such as goethite and hematite leads to rapid recrystallization marked, in principle, by an atom exchange (AE) front, according to bulk iron isotopic tracer studies. However, direct evidence for this AE front has been elusive given the analytical challenges of mass-resolved imaging at the nanoscale on individual crystallites. We report successful isolation and characterization of the AE front in goethite microrods by 3D atom probe tomography (APT). The microrods were reacted with Fe(II) enriched in tracer 57Fe at conditions consistent with prior bulk studies. APT analyses and 3D reconstructions on cross-sections of the microrods reveal an AE front that is spatially heterogeneous, at times penetrating several nanometers into the lattice, in a manner consistent with defect-accelerated exchange. Evidence for exchange along microstructural domain boundaries was also found, suggesting another important link between exchange extent and initial defect content. The findings provide an unprecedented view into the spatial and temporal characteristics of Fe(II)-catalyzed recrystallization at the atomic scale, and substantiate speculation regarding the role of defects controlling the dynamics of electron transfer and AE interaction at this important redox interface.
Project description:Dissolution of Fe(III) phases is a key process in making iron available to biota and in the mobilization of associated trace elements. Recently, we have demonstrated that submicromolar concentrations of Fe(II) significantly accelerate rates of ligand-controlled dissolution of Fe(III) (hydr)oxides at circumneutral pH. Here, we extend this work by studying isotope exchange and dissolution with lepidocrocite (Lp) and goethite (Gt) in the presence of 20 or 50 ?M desferrioxamine-B (DFOB). Experiments with Lp at pH 7.0 were conducted in carbonate-buffered suspensions to mimic environmental conditions. We applied a simple empirical model to determine dissolution rates and a more complex kinetic model that accounts for the observed isotope exchange and catalytic effect of Fe(II). The fate of added tracer 57Fe(II) was strongly dependent on the order of addition of 57Fe(II) and ligand. When DFOB was added first, tracer 57Fe remained in solution. When 57Fe(II) was added first, isotope exchange between surface and solution could be observed at pH 6.0 but not at pH 7.0 and 8.5 where 57Fe(II) was almost completely adsorbed. During dissolution of Lp with DFOB, ratios of released 56Fe and 57Fe were largely independent of DFOB concentrations. In the absence of DFOB, addition of phenanthroline 30 min after tracer 57Fe desorbed predominantly 56Fe(II), indicating that electron transfer from adsorbed 57Fe to 56Fe of the Lp surface occurs on a time scale of minutes to hours. In contrast, comparable experiments with Gt desorbed predominantly 57Fe(II), suggesting a longer time scale for electron transfer on the Gt surface. Our results show that addition of 1-5 ?M Fe(II) leads to dynamic charge transfer between dissolved and adsorbed species and to isotope exchange at the surface, with the dissolution of Lp by ligands accelerated by up to 60-fold.
Project description:The stoichiometry of titanium carbide (TiCx) particles is important in determining particle properties. Spherical TiCx powders with particle sizes of 1-5 ?m were produced by self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS) in 30 wt.% Al-, 30 wt.% Cu-, and 30 wt.% Fe-Ti-C systems, respectively. To measure the compositions of the carbide powders, atom probe tomography (APT) tip specimens were carefully prepared by using a focus ion-beam milling method. APT analysis revealed that the TiCx particles formed in Al-, Cu-, and Fe-Ti-C systems are highly substoichiometric. The results are consistent with observations of the TiCx particles with a high content of oxygen and a certain amount of secondary metallic elements (Al, Cu, and Fe).
Project description:Oxalic acid potentially enhances pump-and-treat for groundwater As remediation by accelerating mobilization. This study examines how oxalic acid mobilizes As from Fe(III)-oxide coated sand under hydrodynamic conditions. Four columns were packed with metal-substituted ferrihydrite or goethite to 1% Fe, presorbed to 50% As surface coverage, and reacted with pH?=?2.2 artificial groundwater amended with 10?mM oxalic acid at 1?m day-1. Arsenic elution was affected by both As and Fe speciation. Although the As(V) columns experienced faster substrate dissolution, As(V) elution was delayed by re-adsorption, whereas As(III) elution was rapid due to pH decrease that prevented re-adsorption. Cr-ferrihydrite and Ni-goethite dissolved both effectively initially but then diverged. The Cr-ferrihydrite columns experienced continuous stoichiometric Fe and Cr release, and As release could be sustained. The Ni-goethite columns initially experienced nonstoichiometric Fe and Ni release, and As release was extensive. Such release, however, was not sustained. We hypothesized that Ni-goethite contained sites with distinct reactivity, and oxalic acid targeted readily-dissolved, sorption-dense sites. Our data indicate that oxalic acid-enhanced pump-and-treat methods would be easier to apply to aquifers dominated by As(III), requiring less amendment to be injected; such oxalic acid-enhanced methods remove reactive sediment Fe and As, potentially preventing future groundwater contamination.
Project description:Minerals constitute a primary ecosystem control on organic C decomposition in soils, and therefore on greenhouse gas fluxes to the atmosphere. Secondary minerals, in particular, Fe and Al (oxyhydr)oxides-collectively referred to as "oxides" hereafter-are prominent protectors of organic C against microbial decomposition through sorption and complexation reactions. However, the impacts of Mn oxides on organic C retention and lability in soils are poorly understood. Here we show that hydrous Mn oxide (HMO), a poorly crystalline ?-MnO2, has a greater maximum sorption capacity for dissolved organic matter (DOM) derived from a deciduous forest composite Oi, Oe, and Oa horizon leachate ("O horizon leachate" hereafter) than does goethite under acidic (pH 5) conditions. Nonetheless, goethite has a stronger sorption capacity for DOM at low initial C:(Mn or Fe) molar ratios compared to HMO, probably due to ligand exchange with carboxylate groups as revealed by attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy-near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy coupled with Mn mass balance calculations reveal that DOM sorption onto HMO induces partial Mn reductive dissolution and Mn reduction of the residual HMO. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy further shows increasing Mn(II) concentrations are correlated with increasing oxidized C (C=O) content (r = 0.78, P < 0.0006) on the DOM-HMO complexes. We posit that DOM is the more probable reductant of HMO, as Mn(II)-induced HMO dissolution does not alter the Mn speciation of the residual HMO at pH 5. At a lower C loading (2 × 102 ?g C m-2), DOM desorption-assessed by 0.1 M NaH2PO4 extraction-is lower for HMO than for goethite, whereas the extent of desorption is the same at a higher C loading (4 × 102 ?g C m-2). No significant differences are observed in the impacts of HMO and goethite on the biodegradability of the DOM remaining in solution after DOM sorption reaches steady state. Overall, HMO shows a relatively strong capacity to sorb DOM and resist phosphate-induced desorption, but DOM-HMO complexes may be more vulnerable to reductive dissolution than DOM-goethite complexes.
Project description:Schwertmannite is an Fe(III)-oxyhydroxysulfate which is common in acid mine drainage (AMD) and acid sulfate soil (ASS) environments. Natural schwertmannite is often enriched in Cr(III), yet the effects of Cr(III) substitution on schwertmannite transformation to more stable Fe(III) minerals has not been addressed. Here we examine, for the first time, the effects of Cr(III) substitution on the Fe(II)-accelerated transformation of schwertmannite. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fe K-edge extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy shows that Cr(III) substitution inhibits schwertmannite transformation. Substitution at a Cr(III):Fe(III) ratio of 0.025 decreased schwertmannite transformation (at pH 6.5) by 18-49% (depending on Fe(II) concentrations) relative to that of Cr(III)-free schwertmannite. Formation of crystalline secondary phases (predominantly goethite) caused associated decreases in solid-phase Fe and Cr extractability by 1 M HCl. The extractability of Cr was consistently greater than that of Fe, suggesting some accumulation of Cr(III) at the residual schwertmannite surface-a phenomenon which passivates the surface against Fe(II)/Fe(III) electron transfer and atom exchange required for the Fe(II)-accelerated transformation process. The finding that Cr(III)-substitution inhibits schwertmannite transformation implies that it may also significantly impact associated Fe, S and trace metal(loid) behaviour.
Project description:Quantifying chemical compositions around nanovoids is a fundamental task for research and development of various materials. Atom probe tomography (APT) and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) are currently the most suitable tools because of their ability to probe materials at the nanoscale. Both techniques have limitations, particularly APT, because of insufficient understanding of void imaging. Here, we employ a correlative APT and STEM approach to investigate the APT imaging process and reveal that voids can lead to either an increase or a decrease in local atomic densities in the APT reconstruction. Simulated APT experiments demonstrate the local density variations near voids are controlled by the unique ring structures as voids open and the different evaporation fields of the surrounding atoms. We provide a general approach for quantifying chemical segregations near voids within an APT dataset, in which the composition can be directly determined with a higher accuracy than STEM-based techniques.
Project description:Iron (hydr)oxides are the most ubiquitous Fe(III)-containing minerals in the near-surface environments and can regulate organic pollutant biotransformation by participating in bacterial extracellular electron transfer under anaerobic conditions. Mechanisms described so far are based on their redox properties in bacterial extracellular respiration. Here, we find that goethite, a typical iron (hydr)oxide, inhibits the bioreduction of different polar azo dyes by Shewanella decolorationis S12 not through electron competition, but by the contact of its surface Fe(III) with the bacterial outer surface. Through the combined results of attenuated total reflectance (ATR) Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, two-dimensional correlation spectroscopy, and confocal laser scanning microscope, we found that the outer membrane proteins MtrC and OmcA of strain S12 are key binding sites for goethite surface. Meanwhile, they were identified as the important reductive terminals for azo dyes. These results suggest that goethite may block the terminal reductive sites of azo dyes on the bacterial outer membrane to inhibit their bioreduction. This discovered role of goethite in bioreduction provides new insight into the microbial transformation processes of organic pollutants in iron (hydr)oxide-containing environments.
Project description:Reactive Fe(III) minerals can influence methane (CH<sub>4</sub> ) emissions by inhibiting microbial methanogenesis or by stimulating anaerobic CH<sub>4</sub> oxidation. The balance between Fe(III) reduction, methanogenesis, and CH<sub>4</sub> oxidation in ferruginous Archean and Paleoproterozoic oceans would have controlled CH<sub>4</sub> fluxes to the atmosphere, thereby regulating the capacity for CH<sub>4</sub> to warm the early Earth under the Faint Young Sun. We studied CH<sub>4</sub> and Fe cycling in anoxic incubations of ferruginous sediment from the ancient ocean analogue Lake Matano, Indonesia, over three successive transfers (500 days in total). Iron reduction, methanogenesis, CH<sub>4</sub> oxidation, and microbial taxonomy were monitored in treatments amended with ferrihydrite or goethite. After three dilutions, Fe(III) reduction persisted only in bottles with ferrihydrite. Enhanced CH<sub>4</sub> production was observed in the presence of goethite, highlighting the potential for reactive Fe(III) oxides to inhibit methanogenesis. Supplementing the media with hydrogen, nickel and selenium did not stimulate methanogenesis. There was limited evidence for Fe(III)-dependent CH<sub>4</sub> oxidation, although some incubations displayed CH<sub>4</sub> -stimulated Fe(III) reduction. 16S rRNA profiles continuously changed over the course of enrichment, with ultimate dominance of unclassified members of the order Desulfuromonadales in all treatments. Microbial diversity decreased markedly over the course of incubation, with subtle differences between ferrihydrite and goethite amendments. These results suggest that Fe(III) oxide mineralogy and availability of electron donors could have led to spatial separation of Fe(III)-reducing and methanogenic microbial communities in ferruginous marine sediments, potentially explaining the persistence of CH<sub>4</sub> as a greenhouse gas throughout the first half of Earth history.
Project description:Some nitrate- and Fe(III)-reducing microorganisms are capable of oxidizing Fe(II) with nitrate as the electron acceptor. This enzymatic pathway may facilitate the development of anaerobic microbial communities that take advantage of the energy available during Fe-N redox oscillations. We examined this phenomenon in synthetic Fe(III) oxide (nanocrystalline goethite) suspensions inoculated with microflora from freshwater river floodplain sediments. Nitrate and acetate were added at alternate intervals in order to induce repeated cycles of microbial Fe(III) reduction and nitrate-dependent Fe(II) oxidation. Addition of nitrate to reduced, acetate-depleted suspensions resulted in rapid Fe(II) oxidation and accumulation of ammonium. High-resolution transmission electron microscopic analysis of material from Fe redox cycling reactors showed amorphous coatings on the goethite nanocrystals that were not observed in reactors operated under strictly nitrate- or Fe(III)-reducing conditions. Microbial communities associated with N and Fe redox metabolism were assessed using a combination of most-probable-number enumerations and 16S rRNA gene analysis. The nitrate-reducing and Fe(III)-reducing cultures were dominated by denitrifying Betaproteobacteria (e.g., Dechloromonas) and Fe(III)-reducing Deltaproteobacteria (Geobacter), respectively; these same taxa were dominant in the Fe cycling cultures. The combined chemical and microbiological data suggest that both Geobacter and various Betaproteobacteria participated in nitrate-dependent Fe(II) oxidation in the cycling cultures. Microbially driven Fe-N redox cycling may have important consequences for both the fate of N and the abundance and reactivity of Fe(III) oxides in sediments.
Project description:The presence of ferrihydrite in sediments/soils is critical to the cycling of iron (Fe) and many other elements but difficult to quantify. Extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy has been used to speciate Fe in the solid phase, but this method is thought to have difficulties in distinguishing ferrihydrite from goethite and other minerals. In this study, both conventional EXAFS linear combination fitting (LCF) and the method of standard-additions are applied to the same samples in attempt to quantify ferrihydrite and goethite more rigorously. Natural aquifer sediments from Bangladesh and the United States were spiked with known quantities of ferrihydrite, goethite and magnetite, and analyzed by EXAFS. Known mineral mixtures were also analyzed. Evaluations of EXAFS spectra of mineral references and EXAFS-LCF fits on various samples indicate that ferrihydrite and microcrystalline goethite can be distinguished and quantified by EXAFS-LCF but that the choice of mineral references is critical to yield consistent results. Conventional EXAFS-LCF and the method of standard-additions both identified appreciable amount of ferrihydrite in Bangladesh sediments that were obtained from a low-arsenic Pleistocene aquifer. Ferrihydrite was also independently detected by sequential extraction and 57Fe M?ssbauer spectroscopy. These observations confirm the accuracy of conventional EXAFS-LCF and demonstrate that combining EXAFS with additions of reference materials provides a more robust means of quantifying short-range-ordered minerals in complex samples.