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Journal of soil science and plant nutrition

On-line version ISSN 0718-9516


PIZARRO, Carmen; ESCUDEY, Mauricio; GACITUA, Manuel  and  FABRIS, José Domingos. Iron-bearing minerals from soils developing on volcanic materials from Southern Chile: Application in heterogeneous catalysis. J. Soil Sci. Plant Nutr. [online]. 2018, vol.18, n.3, pp.668-693. ISSN 0718-9516.

Chilean soils derived from volcanic ashes are a natural source of iron oxides. Due to their properties, mineralogy, and surface characteristics, iron oxides from Chilean soils are potential candidates for technological applications such as heterogeneous catalysis. However, before a direct application in catalysis, pre-treatment methods are necessary to concentrate iron oxides from bulk volcanic soils. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of pre-treatment strategies for iron oxide concentration including physical separation and selective chemical dissolutive methods for application in catalytic processes, such as the water gas shift (WGS) and Fenton reactions. For preparation of WGS catalyst from volcanic soils, thermal treatment has been demonstrated to be effective, yielding enhanced results for Andisols compared to Ultisols. Based on mineralogical characterisation, it seems that WGS reaction efficiency depends on mineralogical phase shift and the changes of Fe2+/Fe3+ ratio, produced through heating. In addition, Ultisols have shown as efficient catalysts in Fenton and Fenton-like processes, after application of physical and chemical pre-treatments to different size-fractions of the soil sample, improving the yield performance of catalysts. Magnetic separates from the Ultisol sand fraction (compared to the silt+clay fractions) demonstrate the best catalytic performance as Fenton reagent due to their natural magnetite and titanomagnetite content. Application of NaOH selective dissolutive treatment to silt+clay fraction of volcanic soils also produces Fenton and Fenton-like catalyst with improved performance. Our review indicates that catalytic performance can be explained not only by the iron oxide mineral content but also by their characteristics and magnetic properties. The application of the appropriate physical and chemical pre-treatment methods can modulate and enhance the catalytic capabilities of iron oxides from volcanic soils.

Keywords : Iron oxide minerals; water gas shift reaction; Fenton reaction; Selective dissolutive treatments; magnetic separation.

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