A novel technique to determine cobalt exchangeability in soils using isotope dilution

Laura A. Wendling, Jason K. Kirby, Michael J. Mclaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The environmental risk posed by Co contamination is largely a function of its oxidation state. Our objective was to assess the potential biological availability of Co and the reactions and fate of soluble Co(II) after addition to soils with varying physical and chemical characteristics. A potential risk in quantifying exchangeable Co in soils using isotope dilution techniques is the possible presence of two species of Co in soil solution and adsorbed on soil solid phases [Co(II) and Co(III)], coupled with the possibility that when an isotope of Co is added it may undergo a change in oxidation state during the measurement phase. In this study, we have utilized an isotope dilution technique with cation exchange and high-performance liquid chromatography-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry to determine the isotopically exchangeable Co fraction in several soils with varying characteristics such as differing Al, Fe, and Mn oxide content; pH; and organic carbon content. The application of the cation exchange procedure adjusts measurements of isotopically exchangeable Co to correct for the presence of non-exchangeable 57Co not in equilibrium with the solution phase. Results indicated that oxidation of added 57Co(II) to 57Co(III) or precipitation of 57Co(II) may occur on the surfaces of some soils, particularly those with a high pH or substantial quantities of Mn oxide minerals. No detectable Co(III)(aq) was found in the aqueous extracts of the soils examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-146
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cobalt
  • E value
  • Exchangeability
  • Isotope dilution


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