Fe Isotope Fractionation During Fe(III) Reduction to Fe(II)

Friday, 19 December 2014
Emily Alyssa Baker1, Sophie Greene2, Emily E Hardin2, Catherine E Hodierne2, Angela Rosenberg2 and Seth John2, (1)Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, United States, (2)University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, United States
The redox chemistry of Fe(III) and Fe(II) is tied to a variety of earth processes, including biological, chemical, or photochemical reduction of Fe(III) to Fe(II). Each process may fractionate Fe isotopes, but the magnitudes of the kinetic isotope effects have not been greatly explored in laboratory conditions. Here, we present the isotopic fractionation of Fe during reduction experiments under a variety of experimental conditions including photochemical reduction of Fe(III) bound to EDTA or glucaric acid, and chemical reduction of Fe-EDTA by sodium dithionite, hydroxylamine hydrochloride, Mn(II), and ascorbic acid. A variety of temperatures and pHs were tested.

In all experiments, Fe(III) bound to an organic ligand was reduced in the presence of ferrozine. Ferrozine binds with Fe(II), forming a purple complex which allows us to measure the extent of reaction. The absorbance of the experimental solutions was measured over time to determine the Fe(II)-ferrozine concentration and thus the reduction rate. After about 5% of the Fe(III) was reduced, Fe(III)-EDTA and Fe(II)-ferrozine were separated using a C-18 column to which Fe(II)-ferrozine binds. The Fe(II) was eluted and purified through anion exchange chromatography for analysis of δ56Fe by MC-ICPMS.

Preliminary results show that temperature and pH both affect reduction rate. All chemical reductants tested reduce Fe(III) at a greater rate as temperature increases. The photochemical reductant EDTA reduces Fe(III) at a greater rate under more acidic conditions. Comparison of the two photochemical reductants shows that glucaric acid reduces Fe(III) significantly faster than EDTA. For chemical reduction, the magnitude of isotopic fractionation depends on the reductant used. Temperature and pH also affect the isotopic fractionation of Fe. Experiments using chemical reductants show that an increase in temperature at low temperatures produces lighter 56Fe ratios, while at high temperatures some reductants produce heavier 56Fe ratios. The magnitude of isotope fractionation is not related to the reduction rate generalized over all reductants.

The measured isotopic fractionations produce δ56Fe from -3.82 to +3.05 across all of the reductants tested, highlighting the large impact that redox chemistry may have on fractionating Fe isotopes in the environment.