U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Environ. Sci. Technol., 2002, 36, 976-981


The oxidation of arsenite (As(III)) by manganese oxide is an important reaction in both the natural cycling of As and the development of remediation technology for lowering the concentration of dissolved As(III) in drinking water. This study used both a conventional stirred reaction apparatus and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy to investigate the reactions of As(III) and As(V) with synthetic birnessite (MnO2). Stirred reactor experiments indicate that As(III) is oxidized by MnO2 followed by the adsorption of the As(V) reaction product on the MnO2 solid phase. The As(V)-Mn interatomic distance determined by EXAFS analysis for both As(III)- and As(V) treated MnO2 was 3.22 Å, giving evidence for the formation of As(V) adsorption complexes on MnO2 crystallite surfaces. The most likely As(V)-MnO2 complex is a bidentate binuclear corner sharing (bridged) complex occurring at MnO2 crystallite edges and interlayer domains. In the As(III)- treated MnO2 systems, reductive dissolution of the MnO2 solid during the oxidation of As(III) caused an increase in the adsorption of As(V) when compared with As(V)-treated MnO2. This suggested that As(III) oxidation caused a surface alteration, creating fresh reaction sites for As(V) on MnO2 surfaces.