Recent research has revealed that siderophores, a class of biogenic ligands with high affinities for Fe(III), can also strongly complex Co(III), an element essential to the normal metabolic function of microbes and animals. This study was conducted to quantify the rates and identify the products and mechanisms of the siderophore-promoted dissolution of Co from synthetic Co-bearing minerals. The dissolution reactions of heterogenite (CoOOH) and four Co-substituted goethites (Co-FeOOH) containing different Co concentrations were investigated in the presence of a trihydroxamate siderophore, desferrioxamine B (DFOB), using batch and flow-through experiments. Results showed that DFOB-promoted dissolution of Co from Co-bearing minerals may occur via pH-dependent ligand-promoted or reductive dissolution mechanisms. For heterogenite, ligand-promoted dissolution was the dominant pathway at neutral to alkaline pH, while production of dissolved Co(II) for pH <6. It was not possible from our data to decouple the separate contributions of homogenous and heterogeneous reduction reactions to the aqueous Co(II) pool. Cobalt substitution in Co-substituted goethite, possibly caused by distortion of goethite structure and increased lattice strain, resulted in enhanced total dissolution rates of both Co and Fe. The DFOB-promoted dissolution rates of Co-bearing minerals, coupled with the high affinity of Co(III) for DFOB, suggest that siderophores may be effective for increasing Co solubility, and thus possibly Co bioavailability. The results also suggest that siderophores may contribute to the mobilization of radioactive 60Co from Co-bearing mineral phases through mineral weathering and dissolution processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology