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Organic complexation and its control of the dissolved concentrations of copper and zinc in the Scheldt estuary
Van den Berg, C.M.G.; Merks, A.G.A.; Duursma, E.K. (1987). Organic complexation and its control of the dissolved concentrations of copper and zinc in the Scheldt estuary. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 24(6): 785-797.
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    copper; zinc; chelates; estuaries; Netherlands Coast

Authors  Top 
  • Van den Berg, C.M.G.
  • Merks, A.G.A.
  • Duursma, E.K.

    Cathodic stripping voltammetry (CSV) is used to determine total (after UV-irradiation) and labile dissolved metal concentrations as well as complexing ligand concentrations in samples from the river Scheldt estuary. It was found that even at high added concentrations of catechol (1 mm for copper and 0·4 mm for iron) and of APDC (1 mm for zinc) only part of the dissolved metal was labile (5–58% for copper, 34–69% for zinc, 10–38% for iron); this discrepancy could be explained by the low solubility of iron which is largely present as colloidal material, and by competition for dissolved copper and zinc by organic complexing ligands. Ligand concentrations varied between 28 and 206 nm for copper and between 22 and 220 nm for zinc; part of the copper complexing ligands could be sub-divided into strong complexing sites with concentrations between 23 and 121 nm and weaker sites with concentrations between 44 and 131 nm. Values for conditional stability constants varied between (logK' values) 13·0 and 14·8 for strong and between 11·5 and 12·1 for weaker copper complexing ligands, whereas for zinc the values were between 8·6 and 10·6. The average products of ligand concentrations and conditional stability constants (a-coefficients) were 6 × 102 for zinc and 6 × 106 for copper.The dissolved zinc concentration was found to co-vary with the zinc complexing ligand concentration throughout the estuary. It is argued that the zinc concentration is regulated, in this estuary at least, by interactions with dissolved organic complexing ligands. A similar relationship was apparent between the dissolved copper and the strong copper complexing ligand concentration. The total copper complexing ligand concentrations were much greater than the dissolved copper concentrations, suggesting that only strongly complexed copper is kept in solution.These results provide evidence for the first time that interactions of copper and zinc with dissolved organic complexing ligands determine the geochemical pathway of these metals.

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