Nitrate reduction by zero-valent iron under different pH regimes

Seunghee Choe, Howard M. Liljestrand, Jeehyeong Khim

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225 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrate in drinking water can pose a threat to human health. A study of the reduction of NO3-, by Fe0 is reported here. The anaerobic reduction of NO3- was carried out using Fe0 powder in unbuffered solutions from pH 2 to greater than 10. The initial pH of the solution was adjusted to 2, 3, or 4 by addition of HCl, H 2SO4, or CH3COOH, because the Fe oxidation and NO3- reduction reactions consume acidity. Under the conditions of this study, NH3/NH4+ were the only N products. The formation of green rusts divided the NO3 - reduction process into two phases. Green rusts formed around a pH of 6.5 and contributed to the stabilization of pH. With H2SO 4, the available Fe surface area was limited, initially by the excessive accumulation of H2 gas at the interface, which inhibited NO3- reduction. The surface area normalized pseudo-first order reaction rates for NO3- reduction at pH>6.5 or after the formation of green rusts are consistent with those reported for buffered solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-342
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by the Korea Research Foundation Grant (KRF-2001-013-E00103).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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