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Modeling on adsorption-desorption of trace metals to suspended particle matter in the Changjiang Estuary

, : Modeling on adsorption-desorption of trace metals to suspended particle matter in the Changjiang Estuary. Environmental Geology (Berlin) 53(8): 1751-1766

The uptake and release of trace metals (Cu, Ni, Zn, Cd, and Co) in estuaries are studied using river and sea end-member waters and suspended particulate matter (SPM) collected from the Changjiang Estuary, China. The kinetics of adsorption and desorption were studied in terms of environmental factors (pH, SPM loading, and salinity) and metal concentrations. The uptake of the metals studied onto SPM occurred mostly within 10 h and reached an asymptotic value within 40 h in the Changjiang Estuary. As low pH river water flows into the high pH seawater and the water become more alkaline as it approaches to the seaside of estuary, metals adsorb more on SPM in higher pH water, thus, particulate phase transport of metal become increasingly important in the seaward side of the estuary. The percentage of adsorption recovery and the distribution coefficients for trace metals remained to be relatively invariable and a significant reduction only occurred in very high concentrations of metals (> 0.1 mg L-1). The general effect of salinity on metal behavior was to decrease the degree of adsorption of Cu, Zn, Cd, Co, and Ni onto SPM but to increase their adsorption equilibrium pH. The adsorption-desorption kinetics of trace metals were further investigated using Kurbatov adsorption model. The model appears to be most useful for the metals showing the conservative behavior during mixing of river and seawater in the estuary. Our work demonstrates that dissolved concentration of trace metals in estuary can be modeled based on the metal concentration in SPM, pH and salinity using a Kurbatov adsorption model assuming the natural SPM as a simple surfaced molecule.


DOI: 10.1007/s00254-007-0781-z

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