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Adsorption of DL-alanine by allophane: effect of pH and unit particle aggregation

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The adsorption of DL-alanine at pH 4, 6 and 8 by a soil allophane has been determined. Two sets of experiments were carried out: (1) in which the allophane had been kept in a moist state throughout; and (2) in which the mineral had previously been dried at 50°C. In both instances, the adsorption isotherms showed three distinct regions as the concentration of alanine in solution was increased: (1) an initial, nearly linear, rise at low equilibrium concentrations; (2) a levelling off to a plateau at intermediate concentrations; and (3) a steep linear increase at high concentrations. For comparable concentrations of alanine in solution, adsorption decreased in the order pH 6 > pH 8 > pH 4. Irrespective of pH, however, more alanine was adsorbed by the `wet' allophane than by its "dry" counterpart. These observations are interpreted in terms of the morphology and aggregation of allophane unit particles together with the pH-dependent charge characteristics of allophane and alanine. The results are compared with published data on the adsorption of alanine by montmorillonite.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 1999

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