Oxidation of As(III) by MnO2 in the absence and presence of Fe(II) under acidic conditions

Xu Han, Yi Liang Li, Ji Dong Gu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Oxidation of As(III) by natural manganese (hydr)oxides is an important geochemical reaction mediating the transformation of highly concentrated As(III) in the acidic environment such as acid mine drainage (AMD) and industrial As-contaminated wastewater, however, little is known regarding the presence of dissolved Fe(II) on the oxidation process. In this study, oxidation of As(III) in the absence and presence of Fe(II) by MnO2 under acidic conditions was investigated. Kinetic results showed that the presence of Fe(II) significantly inhibited the removal of As(III) (including oxidation and sorption) by MnO2 in As(III)-Fe(II) simultaneous oxidation system even at the molar ratio of Fe(II):As(III)=1/64:1, and the inhibitory effects increased with the increasing ratios of Fe(II):As(III). Such an inhibition could be attributed to the formation of Fe(III) compounds covering the surface of MnO2 and thus preventing the oxidizing sites available to As(III). On the other hand, the produced Fe(III) compounds adsorbed more As(III) and the oxidized As(V) on the MnO2 surface with an increasing ratio of Fe(II):As(III) as demonstrated in kinetic and XPS results. TEM and EDX results confirmed the formation of Fe compounds around MnO2 particles or separated in solution in Fe(II) individual oxidation system, Fe(II) pre-treated and simultaneous oxidation processes, and schwertmannite was detected in Fe(II) individual and Fe pre-treated oxidation processes, while a new kind of mineral, probably amorphous FeOHAs or FeAsO4 particles were detected in Fe(II)-As(III) simultaneous oxidation process. This suggests that the mechanisms are different in Fe pre-treated and simultaneous oxidation processes. In the Fe pre-treated and MnO2-mediated oxidation pathway, As(III) diffused through a schwertmannite coating formed around MnO2 particles to be oxidized. The newly formed As(V) was adsorbed onto the schwertmannite coating until its sorption capacity was exceeded. Arsenic(V) then diffused out of the coating and was released into the bulk solution. The diffusion into the schwertmannite coating and the oxidation of As(III) and sorption of both As(V) and As(III) onto the coating contributed to the removal of total As from the solution phase. In the simultaneous oxidation pathway, the competitive oxidation of Fe(II) and As(III) on MnO2 occurred first, followed by the formation of FeOHAs or FeAsO4 around MnO2 particles, and these poorly crystalline particles of FeOHAs and FeAsO4 remained suspended in the bulk solution to adsorb As(III) and As(V). The present study reveals that the formation of Fe(III) compounds on mineral surfaces play an important role in the sorption and oxidation of As(III) by MnO2 under acidic conditions in natural environments, and the mechanisms involved in the oxidation of As(III) depend upon how Fe(II) is introduced into the As(III)-MnO2 system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-379
Number of pages12
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


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