The use of ion exchange membranes for isotope analyses on soil water sulfate: Laboratory experiments

Jang Soon Kwon, Bernhard Mayer, Seong Taek Yun, Michael Nightingale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the potential use of anion exchange membranes (plant root simulator [PRS] probes) for isotope investigations of the soil sulfur cycle, laboratory experiments were performed to examine the sulfate exchange characteristics and to determine the extent of sulfur and oxygen isotope fractionation during sulfate sorption and desorption on the probes in aqueous solutions and simulated soil solutions. The sulfate-exchange tests in aqueous solutions under varying experimental conditions indicated that the amount of sulfate exchanged onto PRS probes increased with increasing reaction time, initial sulfate concentration, and the number of probes used (= surface area), whereas the percentage of removal of amiable sulfate was constant irrespective of the initial sulfate concentration. The competition of nitrate and chloride in the solution lowered the amount of exchanged sulfate. The exchange experiments in a simulated soil under water-saturated and water-unsaturated conditions showed that a considerable proportion, of the soil sulfate was exchanged by the PRS probes after about 10 d. There was no evidence fot significant sulfur and oxygen isotope fractionation between soil sulfate and sulfate recovered from the PRS probes. Therefore, we recommend the use of PRS probes as an efficient and easy way to collect soil water sulfate for determination of its isotope composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-508
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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