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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

The impact of fluoride on Al abundance and speciation in boreal streams

Berger, Tobias; Mathurin, Frederic A.; Gustafsson, Jon-Petter; Peltola, Pasi; Åström, Mats E.


The impact of fluoride on the abundance and speciation of aluminium (Al) was investigated in three boreal streams characterised by overall high concentrations of fluoride and dissolved organic matter. Stream-water sampling was carried out several times a year for at least 4 years, and a chemical equilibrium model (Visual MINTEQ) was applied in order to model the proportion of colloidal and organically/inorganically complexed Al in the waters. The Al concentrations in filtered (0.45 mu m) water samples were inversely correlated with pH, and reached values up to approximately 1 mg/L during low pH conditions (pH < 6.0). In a stream with high fluoride concentrations, as compared to a similar stream with only moderately elevated fluoride concentrations, the Al concentrations were consistently elevated. For the stream with high concentrations of fluoride and Al, the model predicted both high concentrations and proportions of Al-fluoride complexation. This prediction indicates that high fluoride levels contribute to raise both the Al abundance and the ratio of inorganic to organic Al complexation in stream water. In contrast, for another stream with high fluoride concentrations and consistently high (near neutral) pH, there was no evidence of fluoride affecting Al concentration or complexation. These results show that it is important to focus future studies on the role of high levels of dissolved fluoride on both the speciation and the toxicity of Al in stream water. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Aluminium; Fluoride; Al speciation; Boreal catchments; Chemical modelling; Al toxicity

Published in

Chemical Geology
2015, volume: 409, pages: 118-124

Authors' information

Berger, Tobias
Linnaeus University
Mathurin, Frederic A.
Linnaeus University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Peltola, Pasi
Linnaeus University
Åström, Mats E.
Linnaeus University

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