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Tetracycline sorption to coal and soil humic acids: An examination of humic structural heterogeneity

Authors

  • Huiyu Sun,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, and School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Jiangsu 210093, People's Republic of China
    2. Xuzhou Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, Jiangsu 221006, People's Republic of China
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  • Xin Shi,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, and School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Jiangsu 210093, People's Republic of China
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  • Jingdong Mao,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, USA
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  • Dongqiang Zhu

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, and School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Jiangsu 210093, People's Republic of China
    • State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, and School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Jiangsu 210093, People's Republic of China.
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Abstract

The sorption properties of tetracycline were compared between a coal humic acid (CHA) and a soil humic acid (SHA) under various solution chemistry conditions. Structural characteristics of the two humic acids were quantified in detail by elemental analysis, solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), acid-base titration, and Zeta potential measurement. The CHA consists primarily of poly(methylene)-rich aliphatics with more aromatic C[BOND]O and higher negative surface charge, while SHA is mainly composed of young material residues of lignin, carbohydrates and peptides, and oxidized charcoal. At pH 5 the sorption affinities of tetracycline to SHA and CHA were very close, but remarkably stronger than that to functionality-free model polymeric sorbents (polyethylene and polystyrene). Meanwhile, despite the much lower hydrophobicity, tetracycline displayed stronger sorption to the humic acids than nonpolar, nonionic 1,3,5-trichlorobezene. It is thus concluded that specific complexation (H[BOND]bonding and cation exchange) with the humic functionality overwhelmed hydrophobic effect in sorption when tetracycline was dominated by the zwitterion. Furthermore, modifying solution chemistry conditions (pH, ionic strength of NaCl and CaCl2, and the presence of Zn2+) generally caused more prominent effects on tetracycline sorption to CHA than to SHA, which was attributed to the higher surface charge of CHA. Results of this research demonstrate the importance of the structural nature of humic acids in antibiotic sorption. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:1934–1942. © 2010 SETAC

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