Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 26, pp 27268–27280 | Cite as

Sb(V) adsorption and desorption onto ferrihydrite: influence of pH and competing organic and inorganic anions

  • Giovanni Garau
  • Gian Paolo Lauro
  • Stefania Diquattro
  • Matteo Garau
  • Paola CastaldiEmail author
Research Article


In this study, we investigated the Sb(V) adsorption on ferrihydrite (Fh) at different pH values, in the presence and absence of common competing anions in soil such as phosphate (P(V)) and arsenate (As(V)). Batch adsorption experiments, carried out at pH 4.5, 6.0, and 7.0, showed a greater affinity of Fh towards P(V) and As(V) with respect to Sb(V), especially at higher pH values, while the opposite was true at acidic pH. The capacity of Fh to accumulate greater amounts of phosphate and arsenate in the 6.0–7.0 pH range was mainly linked to the different acid properties of P(V), As(V), and Sb(V) oxyanions. The Sb(V) adsorption on Fh was highly pH-dependent and followed the following order: pH 4.5 (0.957 mmol·g−1 Fh) > pH 6.0 (0.701 mmol·g−1 Fh) > pH 7.0 (0.583 mmol·g−1 Fh). Desorption of antimonate from Sb(V)-saturated Fh, treated with citric and malic acid solutions, was ~equal to 55, 68, and 76% of that sorbed at pH 4.5, 6.0, and 7.0, respectively, while phosphate, arsenate, and sulfate were able to release significantly lower Sb(V) amounts. The FT-IR spectra revealed substantial absorbance shifts related to the surface hydroxyl groups of Fh, which were attributed to the formation of Fe-O-Sb(V) bonds and supported the formation of inner-sphere bonding between Sb(V) and Fh.


Antimony(V) Ferrihydrite Competing anions Sb(V) adsorption isotherms FT-IR spectra 


Supplementary material

11356_2019_5919_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (118 kb)
Fig. S1. XRD pattern of the ferrihydrite used in this study (PPTX 117 kb)
11356_2019_5919_MOESM2_ESM.pptx (522 kb)
Fig. S2. Transmission electron micrographs (TEM) of the ferrihydrite used in this study. Aggregated particles (a-c) and detail of single particles aggregated (d) (PPTX 521 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Agraria, Sezione di Scienze e Tecnologie Ambientali e AlimentariUniversity of SassariSassariItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Chimica e FarmaciaUniversity of SassariSassariItaly

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