Abiotic phosphorus recycling from adsorbed ribonucleotides on a ferrihydrite-type mineral: Probing solution and surface species

Annaleise R. Klein, Sharon E. Bone, Eleanor Bakker, Ziqian Chang, Ludmilla Aristilde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Iron (Fe) (oxyhydr)oxide minerals, which are amongst most reactive minerals in soils and sediments, are known to exhibit strong adsorption of inorganic phosphate (P i ) and organophosphate (P o ) compounds. Beyond synthetic P o compounds, much still remains unknown about the reactivity of these minerals to transform naturally-occurring P o compounds to P i , particularly with respect to solution versus surface speciation of P o hydrolysis. To investigate this reactivity with a ferrihydrite-type mineral and ribonucleotides, we employed high-resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES), Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and molecular modeling. Kinetic experiments were conducted with the mineral (1 g L −1 ) reacted with adenosine monophosphate, diphosphate, or triphosphate (respectively AMP, ADP, ATP; 50 µM). Analysis of solution organic species by LC-MS implied that only adsorption occurred with AMP and ADP but both adsorption and dephosphorylation of ATP were evident. Maximum adsorption capacities per gram of mineral were 40.6 ± 0.8 µmol AMP, 35.7 ± 1.6 µmol ADP, and 10.9 ± 1.0 µmol ATP; solution dephosphorylated by-products accounted for 15% of initial ATP. Subsequent XANES analysis of the surface species revealed that 16% of adsorbed AMP and 30% of adsorbed ATP were subjected to dephosphorylation, which was not fully quantifiable from the solution measurements. Molecular simulations predicted that ADP and ATP were complexed mainly via the phosphate groups whereas AMP binding also involved multiple hydrogen bonds with the adenosine moiety; our FTIR data confirmed these binding confirmations. Our findings thus imply that specific adsorption mechanisms dictate the recycling and subsequent trapping of P i from ribonucleotide-like biomolecules reacted with Fe (oxyhydr)oxide minerals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Adsorption
  • Biomolecule
  • Ferrihydrite
  • Hydrolysis
  • Phosphate
  • Ribonucleotide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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