Structural alterations of humic acid fractions in a steel slag-compost fertilizer during fertilization. Analysis by pyrolysis/methylation-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry

Naotaka Fujisawa, Masami Fukushima, Mitsuo Yamamoto, Hisanori Iwai, Takeshi Komai, Yoshishige Kawabe, Dan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alterations in the structural features of humic acids (HAs) in a steel slag-compost fertilizer for supplying soluble Fe(II) to barren ground in coastal areas were monitored during a 6-month period of fertilization. HAs, the major organic fractions in the fertilizer, were extracted at different periods of time (2, 4 and 6 months) in the absence and presence of steel slag. To focus on the polymeric structure of the HA-backbone and the organic fractions, which are sorbed onto the HA-polymeric matrix (e.g., lipids), the extracted HA samples were analyzed by pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry under conditions where the sample is methylated with tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH-py-GC/MS). The structural features analyzable by TMAH-py-GC/MS for the HA were dramatically altered in the presence of steel slag during the fertilization period. The major modification involved a decrease in phenolic moieties and a significant increase in the sulfur-containing pyrolysate compounds. These results indicate that the steel slag has a significant effect in altering the structure of HA in the fertilizer. TMAH-py-GC/MS analysis of the HAs indicated that the sulfur in the HAs was present in an organic form and not as elemental sulfur. Significant increases in the levels of biomarker fatty acids (iso- and anteiso-C15:0 and C17:0 carboxylic acids), which are related to the activity of sulfate reducing bacteria, suggests that the significant alterations in the HA structures in the presence of steel slag can be attributed to the sulfurization of organic matter in the fertilizer to form hydrogen polysulfides by the reduction of sulfate ions in seawater and/or steel slag via microbial processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Volume95
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Humic acid
  • Steel slag
  • TMAH-py-GC/MS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Fuel Technology

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