Recent Published Articles

A review on the transformation of birnessite in the environment: Implication for the stabilization of heavy metals


Liyuan Chai , Miao Shi , Qingzhu Li , Qingwei Wang , Xuelei Yan , Bensheng Li , Linhai Feng , Chao Wu , Rongrong Qiu , Hongkai Zhang , Zhihui Yang , Weichun Yang , Qi Liao

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2023.06.019

Received March 23, 2023,Revised , Accepted June 12, 2023, Available online June 20, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 496-515

Birnessite is ubiquitous in the natural environment where heavy metals are retained and easily transformed. The surface properties and structure of birnessite change with the changes in external environmental conditions, which also affects the fate of heavy metals. Clarifying the effect and mechanism of the birnessite phase transition process on heavy metals is the key to taking effective measures to prevent and control heavy metal pollution. Therefore, the four transformation pathways of birnessite are summarized first in this review. Second, the relationship between transformation pathways and environmental conditions is proposed. These relevant environmental conditions include abiotic (e.g., co-existing ions, pH, oxygen pressure, temperature, electric field, light, aging, pressure) and biotic factors (e.g., microorganisms, biomolecules). The phase transformation is achieved by the key intermediate of Mn(III) through interlayer-condensation, folding, neutralization-disproportionation, and dissolution-recrystallization mechanisms. The AOS (average oxidation state) of Mn and interlayer spacing are closely correlated with the phase transformation of birnessite. Last but not least, the mechanisms of heavy metals immobilization in the transformation process of birnessite are summed up. They involve isomorphous substitution, redox, complexation, hydration/dehydration, etc. The transformation of birnessite and its implication on heavy metals will be helpful for understanding and predicting the behavior of heavy metals and the crucial phase of manganese oxides/hydroxides in natural and engineered environments.

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