U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 65:58–66 (2001)


The complex interactions of oxidizable organic ligands with soil Mn(III,IV) (hydr)oxide minerals have received little study by in situspectroscopic techniques.We used a combination of an in situ electron paramagnetic resonance stopped-flow (EPR-SF) spectroscopic technique and stirred-batch studies to measure the reductive dissolution kinetics of birnessite (δ-MnO2), a common Mn mineral in soils, by catechol (1,2-dihydroxybenzene). The reaction was rapid, independent of pH, and essentially complete within seconds under conditions of excess catechol at pH 4 to 6. The overall empirical second-order rate equation describing the reductive dissolution rate was d[Mn(II)]/dt = k[CAT]1.0[SA]1.0 where k = 4 (±0.5) (10-3 L m-2 s-1 and [CAT] and [SA] are the initial concentrations in molarity and meters square per liter. In the process, catechol was oxidized to the two-electron o-quinone product. The energy of activation (Ea) for the reaction was 59 (±7) kJ mol-1 and the activation entropy (S) was­ -78±22 J mol-1 K-1, suggesting that the reaction was surface-chemical controlled and occurs by an associative mechanism. Rates of catechol disappearance from solution with simultaneous Mn(II) and o-quinone production were comparable. These data strongly suggest that precursor surface complex formation is rate-limiting and that electron transfer is rapid. The rapid reductive dissolution of birnessite by catechol has significant implications for C and Mn cycling in soils and the availability of Mn to plants.