Humic acid protein complexation

W.F. Tan, L.K. Koopal, L.P. Weng, W.H. van Riemsdijk, W. Norde

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70 Citations (Scopus)


Interactions of purified Aldrich humic acid (PAHA) with lysozyme (LSZ) are investigated. In solution LSZ is moderately positively and PAHA negatively charged at the investigated pH values. The proton binding of PAHA and of LSZ is determined by potentiometric proton titrations at various KCl concentrations. It is also measured for two mixtures of PAHA¿LSZ and compared with theoretically calculated proton binding assuming no mutual interaction. The charge adaptation due to PAHA¿LSZ interaction is relatively small and only significant at low and high pH. Next to the proton binding, the mass ratio PAHA/LSZ at the iso-electric point (IEP) of the complex at given solution conditions is measured together with the pH using the Mütek particle charge detector. From the pH changes the charge adaptation due to the interaction can be found. Also these measurements show that the net charge adaptation is weak for PAHA¿LSZ complexes at their IEP. PAHA/LSZ mass ratios in the complexes at the IEP are measured at pH 5 and 7. At pH 5 and 50 mmol/L KCl the charge of the complex is compensated for 30¿40% by K+; at pH 7, where LSZ has a rather low positive charge, this is 45¿55%. At pH 5 and 5 mmol/L KCl the PAHA/LSZ mass ratio at the IEP of the complex depends on the order of addition. When LSZ is added to PAHA about 25% K+ is included in the complex, but no K+ is incorporated when PAHA is added to LSZ. The flocculation behavior of the complexes is also different. After LSZ addition to PAHA slow precipitation occurs (6¿24 h) in the IEP, but after addition of PAHA to LSZ no precipitation can be seen after 12 h. Clearly, PAHA/LSZ complexation and the colloidal stability of PAHA¿LSZ aggregates depend on the order of addition. Some implications of the observed behavior are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2090-2099
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • streaming current detector
  • natural organic-matter
  • nica-donnan model
  • humic substances
  • cationic polyelectrolytes
  • lysozyme adsorption
  • globular-proteins
  • ion-binding
  • water
  • chloride)


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