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J Environ Radioact. 2008 May;99(5):831-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2007.10.010. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Adsorption and desorption of 85Sr and 137Cs on reference minerals, with and without inorganic and organic surface coatings.

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INRA, UMR 1222, Biogéochimie du Sol et de la Rhizosphère, place Viala, 34060 Montpellier, France.


The adsorption properties of reference minerals may be considerably modified by the presence of the inorganic and organic coatings that are ubiquitous in soils. It is therefore important to assess the effect of such coatings to evaluate the relevance of adsorption studies on pure minerals. The adsorption of trace amounts of (85)Sr and (137)Cs has been studied in dilute suspensions for various minerals that are common components of soils: quartz, calcium carbonate, kaolinite, montmorillonite and illite. We studied the effect of coatings with either Fe or Al oxide with varying additions of soil-extracted humic or fulvic acid. Both adsorption and desorption were measured and data presented as distribution coefficients, Kd. No adsorption was detected on quartz and it was not possible to coat this surface. Adsorption on calcium carbonate was small and not influenced by coatings. Adsorption of Sr on the three clay minerals was very similar, enhanced by the Al-coating, but not affected by Fe and organic coatings. The presence of organic coatings decreased Cs adsorption on illite. Similar but smaller effects were seen on montmorillonite and kaolinite. Aluminum coating enhanced Cs adsorption on illite, whereas both inorganic coatings caused decreases in adsorption on montmorillonite, and there was no effect on kaolinite. Effects were not additive with mixed, organic-inorganic coatings. Adsorption of both Cs and Sr on all minerals was strongly irreversible, with Kd (desorption) being up to four-times greater than adsorption Kd. The ratio of desorption and adsorption Cs Kd values (an assessment of irreversibility) was inversely related to adsorption Kd. This is consistent with a decreasing contribution of high-affinity adsorption as adsorption increases, but may also reflect the partial loss of organic coatings during desorption.

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