Advances in metal(loid) oxyanion removal by zerovalent iron: Kinetics, pathways, and mechanisms

Xiao Wang, Yue Zhang, Zhiwei Wang, Chunhua Xu, Paul G. Tratnyek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Metal(loid) oxyanions in groundwater, surface water, and wastewater can have harmful effects on human or ecological health due to their high toxicity, mobility, and lack of degradation. In recent years, the removal of metal(loid) oxyanions using zerovalent iron (ZVI) has been the subject of many studies, but the full scope of this literature has not been systematically reviewed. The main elements that form metal(loid) oxyanions under environmental conditions are Cr(VI), As(V and III), Sb(V and III), Tc(VII), Re(VII), Mo(VI), V(V), etc. The removal mechanisms of metal(loid) oxyanions by ZVI may involve redox reactions, adsorption, precipitation, and coprecipitation, usually with one of these mechanisms being the main reaction pathway and the other playing auxiliary roles. However, the removal mechanisms are coupled to the reactions involved in corrosion of Fe(0) and reaction conditions. The layer of iron oxyhydroxides that forms on ZVI during corrosion mediates the sequestration of metal(loid) oxyanions. This review summarizes most of the currently available data on mechanisms and performance (e.g., kinetics) of removal of the most widely studies metal(loid) oxyanion contaminants (Cr, As, Sb) by different types of ZVI typically used in wastewater treatment, as well as ZVI that has been sulfidated or combination with catalytic bimetals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number130766
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Adsorption
  • Coprecipitation
  • Metal(loid) oxyanion
  • Reduction
  • Sequestration
  • Zerovalent iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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