Annals of Environmental Science


Annals of Environmental Science
Volume 5, October 2011, Pages 41-53, ISSN 1939-2621

Calcite Growth – Rate Inhibition by Fulvic Acids Isolated from Big Soda Lake, Nevada, USA, the Suwannee River, Georgia, USA and by Polycarboxylic Acids.

Michael M. Reddy and Jerry Leenheer, U. S. Geological Survey, Water Mission Area, National Research Program, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO, 80225, USA.

Received April 07, 2011; in final form September 1, 2011, accepted September 19, 2011.

Calcite crystallization rates are characterized using a constant solution composition at 25oC, pH=8.5, and calcite supersaturation (Ω) of 4.5 in the absence and presence of fulvic acids isolated from Big Soda Lake, Nevada (BSLFA), and a fulvic acid from the Suwannee River, Georgia (SRFA). Rates are also measured in the presence and absence of low-molar mass, aliphatic-alicyclic polycarboxylic acids (PCA). BSLFA inhibits calcite crystal-growth rates with increasing BSLFA concentration, suggesting that BSLFA adsorbs at growth sites on the calcite crystal surface. Calcite growth morphology in the presence of BSLFA differed from growth in its absence, supporting an adsorption mechanism of calcite-growth inhibition by BSLFA. Calcite growth-rate inhibition by BSLFA is consistent with a model indicating that polycarboxylic acid molecules present in BSLFA adsorb at growth sites on the calcite crystal surface. In contrast to published results for an unfractionated SRFA, there is dramatic calcite growth inhibition (at a concentration of 1 mg/L) by a SRFA fraction eluted by pH 5 solution from XAD-8 resin, indicating that calcite growth-rate inhibition is related to specific SRFA component fractions. A cyclic PCA, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-cyclohexane hexacarboxylic acid (CHXHCA) is a strong calcite growth-rate inhibitor at concentrations less than 0.1 mg/L. Two other cyclic PCAs, 1, 1 cyclopentanedicarboxylic acid (CPDCA) and 1, 1 cyclobutanedicarboxylic acid (CBDCA) with the carboxylic acid groups attached to the same ring carbon atom, have no effect on calcite growth rates up to concentrations of 10 mg/L. Organic matter ad-sorbed from the air onto the seed crystals has no effect on the measured calcite crystal-growth rates.

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