Selenium isotope fractionation during reduction by Fe(II)-Fe(III) hydroxide-sulfate (green rust)

Thomas M. Johnson, Thomas D. Bullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have determined the extent of Se isotope fractionation induced by reduction of selenate by sulfate interlayered green rust (GRSO4), a Fe(II)-Fe(III) hydroxide-sulfate. This compound is known to reduce selenate to Se(0), and it is the only naturally relevant abiotic selenate reduction pathway documented to date. Se reduction reactions, when they occur in nature, greatly reduce Se mobility and bioavailability. Se stable isotope analysis shows promise as an indicator of Se reduction, and Se isotope fractionation by various Se reactions must be known in order to refine this tool. We measured the increase in the 80Se/76Se ratio of dissolved selenate as lighter isotopes were preferentially consumed during reduction by GRSO4. Six different experiments that used GRSO4 made by two methods, with varying solution compositions and pH, yielded identical isotopic fractionations. Regression of all the data yielded an instantaneous isotope fractionation of 7.36 ± 0.24‰. Selenate reduction by GRSO4 induces much greater isotopic fractionation than does bacterial selenate reduction. If selenate reduction by GRSO4 occurs in nature, it may be identifiable on the basis of its relatively large isotopic fractionation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-419
Number of pages7
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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