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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

Light-Catalyzed Chromium(VI) Reduction by Organic Compounds and Soil Minerals


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 6, p. 2076-2084
    Received: July 10, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): mkwang@ccms.ntu.edu.tw
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  1. Y. M. Tzoua,
  2. R. H. Loeppertb and
  3. M. K. Wang *c
  1. a Texas A&M University), Soil and Environmental Sciences, Taichung, Taiwan, 402
    b Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
    c Department of Agricultural Chemistry, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, 106


Detoxification of Cr(VI) through reduction has been considered an effective method for reclaiming Cr-contaminated soil, sediment, and waste water. Organic matter is widely distributed in soil and aquatic systems; however, low Cr(VI) reduction rates inhibit the adoption of Cr reduction technologies by industry. Scientists have been aware of Cr(VI) reduction catalyzed by soil minerals; however, most of the studies focused on using semiconductors as catalysts with UV irradiation to accelerate the redox reactions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the rates of Cr(VI) reduction by fluorescence light in the presence of organic materials with or without specific soil minerals. Experimental results showed that dissolved organic compounds reduced Cr(VI) slowly under laboratory light; however, Cr(VI) reduction was greatly enhanced when growth chamber light was applied. Low photon flux (i.e., laboratory light) only enhanced Cr(VI) reduction by organics when Fe(III) was also present, because the Fe(II)–Fe(III) redox couple accelerated electron transfer and decreased electrostatic repulsion between reactants. Laboratory light was required to initiate Cr(VI) reduction catalyzed by TiO2; nonetheless, light-catalyzed Cr(VI) reduction by smectite and ferrihydrite could occur only when greater light energy was provided with a growth chamber light. Our results suggest a potential pathway for Cr(VI) reduction using naturally occurring organic compounds and colloids in acidic water systems or in surface soils when light is available.

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