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Copper Isotope Fractionation during Equilibration with Natural and Synthetic Ligands

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journal contribution
posted on 05.08.2014, 00:00 by Brooke M. Ryan, Jason K. Kirby, Fien Degryse, Kathleen Scheiderich, Mike J. McLaughlin
As copper (Cu) stable isotopes emerge as a tool for tracing Cu biogeochemical cycling, an understanding of how Cu isotopes fractionate during complexation with soluble organic ligands in natural waters and soil solutions is required. A Donnan dialysis technique was employed to assess the isotopic fractionation of Cu during complexation with the soluble synthetic ligands ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), iminodiacetic acid (IDA) and desferrioxamine B (DFOB), as well as with Suwannee River fulvic acid (SRFA). The results indicated enrichment of the heavy isotope (65Cu) in the complexes, with Δ65Cucomplex‑free values ranging from +0.14 to +0.84‰. A strong linear correlation was found between the logarithms of the stability constants of the Cu complexes and the magnitudes of isotopic fractionation. These results show that complexation of Cu by organic ligands can affect the isotopic signature of the free Cu ion. This free Cu is considered the most bioavailable species, and hence, our results highlight the importance of understanding fractionation processes in the uptake medium when using Cu isotopes to study the uptake mechanisms of organisms. These data contribute a vital piece to the emerging picture of Cu isotope cycling in the natural environment, as organic complexation plays a key role in the Cu cycle.

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