SREL Reprint #2965




Preparation and FT-IR characterization of metal phytate compounds

Zhongqi He1, C. Wayne Honeycutt1, Tiequan Zhang2, and Paul M. Bertsch3

1USDA–ARS, New England Plant, Soil, and Water Laboratory, Orono, ME 04469
2Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Greenhouse & Processing Crop Center, Harrow, ON, N0R 1G0, Canada
3Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, P.O. Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802

Abstract: Phytic acid (inositol hexaphosphoric acid, IP6) has long been recognized as the predominant organic P form in soil and animal manure. Whereas many studies have investigated the wet chemistry of IP6, there is little information on the characterization of solid metal IP6 compounds. This information is essential for further understanding and assessing the chemical behavior of IP6 in diverse soil–plant–water ecosystems. As the first step in full characterization, we synthesized eight metal phytate compounds and investigated their structural features using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT–IR). The absorption features from 900 to 1200 cm–1 in FT–IR could be used to identify these phytates as: (i) light divalent metal (Ca and Mg) compounds with a sharp band and a broad band, (ii) heavy divalent metal (Cu and Mn) compounds with splitting broad bands, and (iii) trivalent metal (Al and Fe) compounds with a broad band and a shoulder band. Three different types of chemical structures of metal–phytate compounds were presented based on the FT–IR information. We further demonstrated that metal orthophosphates possessed different FT–IR spectral characteristics from their IP6 counterparts. The unique spectral features of metal phytates from 1000 to 700 cm–1 could be used to distinguish phytate compounds from metal phosphate compounds. Thus, FT–IR analysis after fine tuning could provide an analytical tool to investigate the basic metal phytate chemistry in molecular levels, such as the competitive interactions between phosphate and phytate with a specific metal ion, and the conversion (or hydrolysis) of metal phytate to metal phosphate under various conditions.

SREL Reprint #2965

He, Z., C. W. Honeycutt, T. Zhang, and P. M. Bertsch. 2006. Preparation and FT-IR characterization of metal phytate compounds. Journal of Environmental Quality 35:1319-1328.

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