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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 4, p. 1187-1193
    Received: Oct 4, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): sondra.klitzke@tu-berlin.de


Hydrophobicity of Soil Colloids and Heavy Metal Mobilization

  1. Sondra Klitzke * and
  2. Friederike Lang
  1. Berlin Univ. of Technology, Dep. of Soil Science, Salzufer 11-12, D-10587 Berlin, Germany


Drying of soil may increase the hydrophobicity of soil and affect the mobilization of colloids after re-wetting. Results of previous research suggest that colloid hydrophobicity is an important parameter in controlling the retention of colloids and colloid-associated substances in soils. We tested the hypothesis that air-drying of soil samples increases the hydrophobicity of water-dispersible colloids and whether air-drying affects the mobilization of colloid-associated heavy metals. We performed batch experiments with field-moist and air-dried (25°C) soils from a former sewage farm (sandy loam), a municipal park (loamy sand), and a shooting range site (loamy sand with 25% Corg). The filtered suspensions (<1.2 μm) were analyzed for concentrations of dissolved and colloidal organic C and heavy metals (Cu, Cd, Pb, Zn), average colloid size, zeta potential, and turbidity. The hydrophobicity of colloids was determined by their partitioning between a hydrophobic solid and a hydrophilic aqueous phase. Drying increased hydrophobicity of the solid phase but did not affect the hydrophobicity of the dispersed colloids. Drying decreased the amount of mobilized mineral and (organo-)mineral colloids in the sewage farm soils but increased the mobilization of organic colloids in the C-rich shooting range soil. Dried samples released less colloid-bound Cd and Zn than field-moist samples. Drying-induced mobilization of dissolved organic C caused a redistribution of Cu from the colloidal to the dissolved phase. We conclude that drying-induced colloid mobilization is not caused by a change in the physicochemical properties of the colloids. Therefore, it is likely that the mobilization of colloids in the field is caused by increasing shear forces or the disintegration of aggregates.

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