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Chemosphere. 2011 Jun;83(11):1524-31. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.01.045. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Stabilization of thioarsenates in iron-rich waters.

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University of Bayreuth, Environmental Geochemistry, Universitaetsstrasse 30, Bayreuth, Germany.


In recent years, thioarsenates have been shown to be important arsenic species in sulfidic, low-iron waters. Here, we show for the first time that thioarsenates also occur in iron-rich ground waters, and that all methods previously used to preserve arsenic speciation (acidification, flash-freezing, or EDTA addition) fail to preserve thioarsenates in such matrices. Laboratory studies were conducted to identify the best approach for stabilizing thioarsenates by combination and modification of the previously-applied methods. Since acidification was shown to induce conversions between thioarsenates and precipitation of arsenic-sulfide minerals, we first conducted a detailed study of thioarsenate preservation by flash-freezing. In pure water, thioarsenates were stable for 21d when the samples were flash-frozen and cryo-stored with a minimal and anoxic headspace. Increasing headspace volume and oxygen presence in the headspace were detrimental to thioarsenate stability during cryo-storage. Addition of NaOH (0.1M) or EtOH (1% V/V) counteracted these effects and stabilized thioarsenates during cryo-storage. Addition of Fe(II) to thioarsenate solutions caused immediate changes in arsenic speciation and a loss of total arsenic from solution during cryo-storage. Both effects were largely eliminated by addition of a neutral EDTA-solution, and thioarsenates were significantly stabilized during cryo-storage by this procedure. Neutralization of EDTA was required to prevent alteration of thioarsenate speciation through pH change. With the modified method (anoxic cryo-preservation by flash-freezing with minimal headspace after addition of neutralized EDTA-solution), the fractions of mono- and dithioarsenate, the two thioarsenates observed in the iron-rich ground waters, remained stable over a cryo-storage period of 11d. Further modifications are needed for the higher SH-substituted thioarsenates (tri- and tetrathioarsenate), which were not encountered in the studied iron-rich ground waters.

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