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A Generalized Description of Aquatic Colloidal Interactions:  The Three-colloidal Component Approach

Zhang, Jingwu
Published in Environmental science & technology. 1998, vol. 32, no. 19, p. 2887-2899
Abstract This paper describes several possible interactions among the different types of organic and inorganic aquatic colloids, based on our present knowledge of their size, electric charge, and conformation. The physicochemical properties of the different groups of colloids are described. Emphasis is placed on the various types of organic components, including fulvic compounds. Subsequently, the role of each colloid class is discussed with respect to homoaggregation (aggregation within a given colloid class) and heteroaggregation (aggregation among different colloid types). On the basis of a synthesis of literature reports, microscopic observations of natural colloids, experimental results obtained with model systems, and numerical simulations, it is concluded that the formation of aggregates in aquatic systems can be understood by mainly considering the roles of three types of colloids:  (i) compact inorganic colloids; (ii) large, rigid biopolymers; and (iii) either the soil-derived fulvic compounds or their equivalent in pelagic waters, aquagenic refractory organic matter. In most natural aquatic systems, the small (few nanometers) fulvic compounds will stabilize the inorganic colloids whereas the rigid biopolymers (0.1−1 μm) will destabilize them. The concentration of stable colloids in a particular aquatic system will depend on the relative proportions of these three components.
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Research groups ISE Eau
ISE Pôle Sciences
Limnology and Environmental Geology
(ISO format)
BUFFLE, Jacques et al. A Generalized Description of Aquatic Colloidal Interactions:  The Three-colloidal Component Approach. In: Environmental Science & Technology, 1998, vol. 32, n° 19, p. 2887-2899. doi: 10.1021/es980217h https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:101251

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