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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

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Record number 411165
Title Humic substance charge determination by titration with a flexible cationic polyelectrolyte
Author(s) Tan, W.F.; Norde, W.; Koopal, L.K.
Source Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75 (2011)19. - ISSN 0016-7037 - p. 5749 - 5761.
Department(s) Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) natural organic-matter - streaming current detector - nica-donnan model - fulvic-acid - proton-binding - colloid titration - mineral particles - light-scattering - ion-binding - adsorption
Abstract The anionic charge of humic substances (HS) plays a major role in the interaction of HS with other components. Therefore, the potential of the polyelectrolyte titration technique to obtain the charge density of HS in simple 1–1 electrolyte solutions has been investigated. Titrations are carried out with an automatic titrator combined with the “Mütek particle charge detector” which allows determination of the Mütek potential and the pH as a function of the added amount of titrant which is a solution of poly-diallyldimethylammonium chloride (polyDADMAC), a cationic strong polyelectrolyte. When the Mütek potential reverses its sign the iso-electric point (IEP) of the polyDADMAC–HS complex is reached. The polyDADMAC/HS mass ratio at the IEP gives information on the HS charge density and from the pH changes in solution an estimate of the charge regulation in the HS–polyDADMAC complex can be obtained. In general, for polyDADMAC–HS complexes an increase in the dissociation of the acid groups of HS is found (charge regulation). The charge regulation decreases with increasing concentration of 1–1 background electrolyte. Cation incorporation can be neglected at 1–1 electrolyte concentrations ¿ 1 mmol L-1 and a 1–1 stoichiometry exists between the polyDADMAC and HS charge. However, at these low salt concentrations the charge regulation is substantial. A detailed analysis of purified Aldrich humic acid (PAHA) at pH 5 and a range of KCl concentrations reveals that the anionic charge of PAHA in the complex increases at 5 mmol L-1 KCl by 30% and at 150 mmol L-1 KCl by 12%. On the other hand, increasing amounts of K+ become incorporated in the complex: at 5 mmol L-1 KCl 5% and at 150 mmol L-1 KCl 24% of the PAHA charge is balanced by K+. By comparing at pH 5 the mass ratios polyDADMAC/PAHA in the complex at the IEP with the theoretical mass ratios of polyDADMAC/PAHA required to neutralize PAHA in the absence of charge regulation and K+ incorporation, it is found that at 50 mmol L-1 KCl the extra negative charge due to the interaction between polyDADMAC and PAHA is just compensated by K+ incorporation in the complex. Therefore, a pseudo 1–1 stoichiometry exists at about 50 mmol L-1 1–1 electrolyte concentration and only at this salt concentration polyDADMAC titrations and conventional proton titrations give identical results. Most likely this is also true for other HA samples and other pH values. For FA further study is required to reveal the conditions for which polyDADMAC and proton titrations give identical results.
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