Lead binding to soil fulvic and humic acids: NICA-Donnan modeling and XAFS spectroscopy

J. Xiong, L.K. Koopal, W. Tan, L. Fang, W. Wang, W. Zhao, T. Liu, J. Zhang, L. Weng

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Binding of lead (Pb) to soil fulvic acid (JGFA), soil humic acids (JGHA, JLHA), and lignite-based humic acid (PAHA) was investigated through binding isotherms and XAFS. Pb binding to humic substances (HS) increased with increasing pH and decreasing ionic strength. The NICA-Donnan model described Pb binding to the HS satisfactorily. The comparison of the model parameters showed substantial differences in median Pb affinity constants among JGFA, PAHA, and the soil HAs. Milne’s “generic” parameters did not provide an adequate prediction for the soil samples. The Pb binding prediction with generic parameters for the soil HAs was improved significantly by using the value nPb1 = 0.92 instead of the generic value nPb1 = 0.60. The nPb1/nH1 ratios obtained were relatively high, indicating monodentate Pb binding to the carboxylic-type groups. The nPb2/nH2 ratios depended somewhat on the method of optimization, but the values were distinctly lower than the nPb1/nH1 ratios, especially when the optimization was based on Pb bound vs log [Pb2+]. These low values indicate bidentate binding to the phenolic-type groups at high Pb concentration. The NICA-Donnan model does not consider bidentate binding of Pb to a carboxylic- and a phenolic-type group. The EXAFS results at high Pb loading testified that Pb was bound in bidentate complexes of one carboxylic and one phenolic group (salicylate-type) or two phenolic groups (catechol-type) in ortho position.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11634-11642
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • natural organic-matter
  • metal-ion binding
  • conditional affinity spectra
  • ombrotrophic peat bog
  • proton binding
  • chemical-composition
  • contaminated soils
  • cation-binding
  • molecular-size
  • substances

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