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Comparison of measured and modelled copper binding by natural organic matter in freshwaters.

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number1-2
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)37-49
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Fifteen freshwater samples containing significant concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were titrated with copper under standardised conditions (pH 6 and 7), and concentrations of Cu2+ were measured with an ion-selective electrode. Measured values of [Cu2+], which were in the range 1E-11–1E-5 mol/L, were compared with those simulated using Humic Ion-Binding Models V and VI. It was assumed that copper speciation was controlled by the organic matter, represented by fulvic acid (FA), together with inorganic solution complexation (calculated with an inorganic speciation model). The models were calibrated by adjusting a single quantity, the concentration of FA. The optimised value - [FA]opt - was that giving the best agreement, according to least squares, between measured and simulated [Cu2+]. The calculations took into account competition by other dissolved filterable) metals (Mg, Al, Ca, Fe(II), Fe(III), Zn); in the case of Fe(III) it was assumed either that all the dissolved metal was truly in solution, or that the activity of Fe3+ was controlled by equilibrium with Fe(OH)3. The assumption about Fe(III) had relatively small effects on the fitting of Model V, but was significant for Model VI, because Model VI represents low-abundance, high affinity binding sites in humic matter, which are sensitive to Fe(III) competition. Because of its inclusion of the high affinity sites, Model VI provided better fits of the data than did Model V. Furthermore, Model VI with Fe3+ activity controlled by Fe(OH)3 gave smaller variation in the ratio of [FA]opt to [DOC] than Model VI with all Fe(III) assumed to be in solution. The average [FA]opt/[DOC] found from the Cu titrations was 1.30, which implies that 65% of the organic matter is ‘active’ with respect to metal binding. The average ratio of 1.30 is in reasonable agreement with ratios obtained by applying the model to field data sets for charge balance (1.22), Al speciation (1.56) and base titrations of Cu-amended waters (1.45). It is concluded that Model VI/Fe(OH)3 provides the most reliable predictions of dissolved metal speciation in natural waters; at a total Cu concentration of 1 mM, the predicted concentration of Cu2+ is expected to be correct to within a factor of 3.6 in 95% of cases.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C, 133 (1-2), 2002, © ELSEVIER.