Transport and cycling of iron and hydrogen peroxide in a freshwater stream: Influence of organic acids

Water Resources Research
By: , and 



An in‐stream injection of two dissolved organic acids (phthalic and aspartic acids) was performed in an acidic mountain stream to assess the effects of organic acids on Fe photoreduction and H2O2 cycling. Results indicate that the fate of Fe is dependent on a net balance of oxidative and reductive processes, which can vary over a distance of several meters due to changes in incident light and other factors. Solution phase photoreduction rates were high in sunlit reaches and were enhanced by the organic acid addition but were also limited by the amount of ferric iron present in the water column. Fe oxide photoreduction from the streambed and colloids within the water column resulted in an increase in the diurnal load of total filterable Fe within the experimental reach, which also responded to increases in light and organic acids. Our results also suggest that Fe(II) oxidation increased in response to the organic acids, with the result of offsetting the increase in Fe(II) from photoreductive processes. Fe(II) was rapidly oxidized to Fe(III) after sunset and during the day within a well‐shaded reach, presumably through microbial oxidation. H2O2, a product of dissolved organic matter photolysis, increased downstream to maximum concentrations of 0.25 μM midday. Kinetic calculations show that the buildup of H2O2 is controlled by reaction with Fe(II), but this has only a small effect on Fe(II) because of the small formation rates of H2O2 compared to those of Fe(II). The results demonstrate the importance of incorporating the effects of light and dissolved organic carbon into Fe reactive transport models to further our understanding of the fate of Fe in streams and lakes.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Transport and cycling of iron and hydrogen peroxide in a freshwater stream: Influence of organic acids
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1029/2002WR001768
Volume 39
Issue 11
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description Article 1308; 14 p.
First page 1
Last page 14
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