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Formation of Cu(I) in estuarine and marine waters: application of a new solid-phase extraction method to measure Cu(I)
Buerge-Weirich, D.; Sulzberger, B. (2004). Formation of Cu(I) in estuarine and marine waters: application of a new solid-phase extraction method to measure Cu(I). Environ. Sci. Technol. 38(6): 1843-1848. hdl.handle.net/10.1021/es034845x
In: Environmental Science and Technology. American Chemical Society: Easton. ISSN 0013-936X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Marine; Brackish water

Authors  Top 
  • Buerge-Weirich, D.
  • Sulzberger, B.

Abstract
    Cu(I) is a key species with respect to the bioavailability and hence toxicity of copper. Therefore, it is important to elucidate the factors that control Cu(I) steady-state concentrations in natural waters. In this study, a solid-phase-extraction-based method was developed that allows Cu(I) measurements at ambient concentrations. Cu(I) is selectively enriched as a bathocuproine complex on a hydrophobic polymer column, whereas Cu(II), bound to ethylenediamine, is not retained on the column. After elution with acidic methanol, Cu is analyzed with graphite-furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy. The detection limit of the whole analytical procedure is below 1 × 10-9 M, and the mean recovery of Cu(I) is 70%. We then applied this method to determine Cu(I) in water samples collected from the River Scheldt estuary and the North Sea. Upon irradiation of these filtered water samples in the laboratory (with 5 kW m-2), Cu(I) steady-state concentrations ([Cu(I)]ss) were established within a few minutes, and [Cu(I)]ss ranged from 5% to 80% of total dissolved copper, depending on the origin of the water samples. Measured [Cu(I)]ss can be interpreted by considering light-induced reduction of Cu(II) and stabilization of Cu(I) by chloride at high salinity, thermal reduction of Cu(II) by sulfide-containing compounds at low salinity, and fast reoxidation of Cu(I) due to stabilization of Cu(II) by strong organic ligands present at intermediate salinity.

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