Metal flux and dynamic speciation at (bio)interfaces. Part I: Critical evaluation and compilation of physicochemical parameters for complexes with simple ligands and fulvic/humic substances

Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Nov 15;41(22):7609-20. doi: 10.1021/es070702p.


In the computation of metal flux in aquatic systems, at consuming surfaces like organism membranes, diffusion processes of metal ions, ligands, and complex species, as well as the kinetic and thermodynamic aspects of their chemical interactions, must be considered. The properties of many natural ligands, however, are complicated (formation of successive complexes for simple ligands, polyelectrolytic properties and chemical heterogeneity for macromolecular ligands, large size distribution and fractal structure for suspended aggregates). These properties should be properly modeled to get the correct values of the chemical rate constants and diffusion coefficients required for flux computations. The selection of the most appropriate models and parameter values is far from straightforward. This series of papers discusses the various models and compiles the parameters needed for the three most important types of complexants found in aquatic systems: the small, simple ligands, the fulvic and humic compounds, and the colloidal "particles" or aggregates. In particular, new approaches are presented to compute the rate constants of metal complex formation, with both fulvics/humics and particles/aggregates. The method to include the site distribution of fulvics/humics and the size distribution of particles/aggregates in metal flux computation at consuming interfaces is also discussed in detail. These models and parameters are discussed critically and presented in the same framework, forthe computation of metal flux in presence of any of the above complexants or mixtures. Such parameters, largely spread in the literature, are gathered here and selected specifically for environmental applications. The focus in Part I of the series is on simple ligands and fulvic/humic compounds. Part II deals with particulate and aggregate complexants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Humic Substances*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Metals / chemistry*
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Soil Pollutants / chemistry*
  • Water / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants / chemistry*


  • Humic Substances
  • Ligands
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Metals
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants
  • Water