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J Chromatogr A. 2006 Feb 3;1104(1-2):272-81. Epub 2005 Dec 19.

Size fractionation and characterization of natural colloids by flow-field flow fractionation coupled to multi-angle laser light scattering.

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  • 1University of Bordeaux 1, Center of Development of Applied Geology, Avenue des Facult├ęs, 33400 Talence, France.


Flow-field flow fractionation (FlFFF) coupled to multi-angle laser light scattering (MALLS) was evaluated for size and shape determination of standard spherical and arbitrarily shaped natural colloids. Different fitting methods for light scattering data retrieved from MALLS were evaluated to determine the particle size of spherical standards and natural colloids. In addition, FlFFF was optimized for best fractionation in connection to MALLS, minimal colloids-membrane interaction, and minimal sample losses. FlFFF, calibrated with standard particles, was used to determine hydrodynamic diameter, or radius (D(h) or R(h)), of the fractionated colloids, whereas the MALLS was used to determine root mean square radius of gyration (R(g)) for fractionated colloids. Combining both results, by calculating the R(g)/R(h) ratio, allows an estimation of colloid deviation from the shape of homogeneous sphere. Accordingly, this study demonstrates that, FlFFF-MALLS is a valuable technique for characterizing heterogeneous and arbitrarily shaped natural colloidal particles in terms of size and shape. To check the usefulness of FlFFF-MALLS in natural colloid studies, the technique was used to investigate the sedimentation behavior of extracted soil colloidal particles. Results illustrate that, in a silty till sample, carbonates function as cement between the colloidal particles, and consequently, change their sedimentation behavior. On the other hand, carbonate dissolution generates a more homogeneous colloidal sample.

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