Characterization and Comparison of Saprist and Fibrist Newfoundland Sphagnum Peat Soils


Saprist and fibrist sphagnum peat soils obtained from the same natural peat bog owned by Traverse Nurseries, Torbay, Newfoundland, Canada were characterized to study their potential for adsorbing metals. Both peat soils had a pH of 4.2. The saprist peat had the lower fiber content (68.6% versus 75%), higher cation exchange capacity (70 meq/100g versus 45 meq/100g), higher moisture content (86% versus 82%), higher organic matter content (91% versus 84%), higher wet bulk density (0.65 g/cm3 versus 0.60 g/cm3) and higher dry bulk density (0.28 g/cm3 versus 0.20 g/cm3). A crystallography study showed that the saprist peat was completely amorphous and the metal content analysis showed high calcium and iron concentrations in both types of peat with higher values in the fibrist peat. Carboxylic acid, alcoholic hydroxyl, phenolic hydroxyl, amine and amide functional groups were present and these could be responsible for binding metal ions via ion exchange and or complexation reactions.

Share and Cite:

E. Asapo and C. Coles, "Characterization and Comparison of Saprist and Fibrist Newfoundland Sphagnum Peat Soils," Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization and Engineering, Vol. 11 No. 7, 2012, pp. 709-718. doi: 10.4236/jmmce.2012.117057.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Couillard, Y., Courcelles, M., Cattaneo, A., and Wunsam, S., 2004, A Test of Integrity of Metal Records in Sediment Cores Based on the Documented History of Metal Contamination in Lac Dufault (Québec, Canada), J. Paleolimnol., Vol. 32, Issue 2, 149 – 162.
[2] Parker, R., Dumaresq, C., 2002. Effluent Characterization, Water Quality Monitoring and Sediment Monitoring in the Metal Mining EEM Program. Water Qual. Res. J. Can. Vol. 37, No. 1, 219 – 228.
[3] Annadurai, G., Juang, R-S., Lee, D-J., 2002, Adsorption of Heavy Metals from Water Using Banana and Orange Peels, Water Sci. Technol., Vol. 37, No. 1, 185 – 190.
[4] Zarraa, M. A., 1995, Study on the Removal of Chromium (VI) from Wastes Solutions by Adsorption onto Sawdust in Vessels, Ads. Sci. and Technol., Vol. 12, Issue 2, 129 – 138.
[5] Coupal, B., and Lalancette, J.-M., 1976, The Treatment of Wastewaters With peat Moss. Water Res., Vol. 10, Issue 12, 1071 – 1076.
[6] Bloom, P. R., and McBride, M. B., 1979, Metal Ion Binding and Exchange with Hydrogen Ions in Acid-Washed Peat, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. Vol. 43, Issue 4, 687 – 692.
[7] Blanachard, G., Muanaye, M., and Martin, G., 1984, Removal of Heavy Metals from Water by Means of Natural Zeolites, Water. Res., Vol. 18, No. 12, 1501 – 1507.
[8] Bailey, S. E., Olin, T. J., Bricka, R. M., and Adrian, D. D., 1999, A Review of Potentially Low-Cost Sorbents for Heavy Metals, Water Res. 33, No. 11, 2469–2479.
[9] Dissanayake, C. B., and Weerasooriya, S. V. R., 1981, Peat as a Metal-Trapping Material in Purification of Industrial Effluents, Int. J. Environ. Stud., Vol. 17, No. 3, pp 233 – 238.
[10] Babel, S., Kurniawan, T. A., 2003. Low-cost Adsorbents for Heavy Metals Uptake from Contaminated Water: a Review. J. Hazardous Mat. B97, Issues 1 – 3, 119-243.
[11] US Market Information, 2008, Personal Communication.
[12] USGS 2006a, Mineral Commodity Summaries. 10th November, 2008.
[13] USGS 2006b, Mineral Commodity Summaries. accessed 10th November, 2008.
[14] USGS 2006c, Mineral Commodity Summaries. http:// 10th November, 2008.
[15] Pérez, J. I., Hontoria, E., Zamorano, and M., Gomez, M. A., 2005, Wastewater Treatment Using Fibrist and Saprist Peat: A Comparative Study, J. Environ. Sci. Health A., Vol. 40, Issue 5, 1021 – 1032.
[16] Twardowska, I., Kyziol, J., Goldrath, T., and Avnimelech, Y., 1999, Adsorption of Zinc onto Peat from Peatlands of Poland and Israel, J. Geochemical Exploration, Vol. 66, Issues 1 – 2, 387 – 405.
[17] Martinez-Cortizas, A., Ponteveda-Pombai, X., Garcia – Rodeja, E., Nóvoa-Munoz, J. C., and Shotyk, W., 1999, Mercury in a Spanish Peat Bog: Archive of Climate Change and Atmospheric Metal Deposition, Sci., Vol. 284, No. 5416, 939 – 942.
[18] Bohlin, E., Hamalainen, M., and Sunden, T., 1989, Botanical and Chemical Characterization of Peat Using Multivariate Methods, J. Soil Sci., Vol. 147, No. 4, 252 – 263.
[19] Nordén, B., Bohlin, E., Nilsson, M., Albano, A., and Rockner, C., 1992, Characterization of Particle Size Fractions of Peat, An Integrated Biological, Chemical, and Spectroscopic Approach, Soil Sci., Vol. 153, No. 5, 382 – 396.
[20] Spedding, P. J., 1988, Peat – Review, Fuel, Vol. 67, Issue 7, pp 883 – 900.
[21] Niemeyer, J., Chen, Y., and Bollag, J.-M., 1992, Characterization of Humic Acids, Composts, and Peat by Diffuse Reflectance Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Soil Sci. Soc.Am. J. Vol. 56, No. 1, 135-140.
[22] Baran, A., 2002, Characterization of Carex Peat Using Extinction Values of Humic Acids, Bioresource Technol., Vol. 85, Issue 1, 99-101.
[23] Li, H., Parent, L. E., Karam, A., and Tremblay, C., 2004, Potential of Sphagnum Peat for improving Soil Organic Matter, Water Holding Capacity, Bulk Density and Potato Yield in a Sandy Soil, Plant Soil, Vol. 265, No. 1 - 2, 355 – 365.
[24] Gondar, D., Lopez, R., Fiol, S., Antelo, J. M., and Arce, F., 2005, Characterization and Acid-Base Properties of Fulvic and Humic Acids isolated from two Horizons of an Om-brotrophic Peat Bog, Geoderma, Vol. 126, Issues 3 – 4, 367 – 374.
[25] Fong, S. S., and Mohamed M., 2007, Chemical Characterization of Humic Substances Occurring in the Peats of Sarawak, Malaysia, Org. Geochem. Vol. 38, Issue 6, 967 – 976.
[26] Burba, P., Beer, A.-M., and Lukanov, J., 2001, Metal Distribution and Binding in Balneological Peats and their Aqueous Extracts, Fresenius J. Anal. Chem., Vol.37, No. 4, 419 – 425.
[27] Ho, Y. S., Wase, D. A. J., Forster, C. F., 1995. Batch Nickel Removal from Aqueous Solution by Sphagnum Moss Peat, Water Res., Vol. 29, Issue 5, 1327 – 1332.
[28] Crist, R. H., Martin J. R., Chonko, J., Crist, D. R., (1996). Uptake of Metals on Peat Moss: An ion Exchange Process. Env. Sc. and Technol. Vol. 30, No. 8, 2456 – 2461.
[29] Ringqvist, L., Holmgren, A., Oborn, I., 2002. Poorly Humified Peat as an Adsorbent for Metals in Wastewater, Water Res., Vol. 36, Issue 9, 2394 – 2404.
[30] Kadlec, R. H., and Keoleian, G. A., 1986, Metal Ion Exchange on Peat in Peat and Water, Ed (Fuchsman, C. H.,) Elsevier Applied Science Publishers Ltd, 61-93.
[31] Kuziemska, I., and Quant, B., 1998, Peat as a Sorbent for Heavy Metal Removal from Water and Wastewater, Proceedings of Green, the Int.Symposium on Geotechnics Related to Environment. 2, 308 – 312.
[32] Pollet, F., Lane, C. M., Gover, F., and McKillop, J. H., 1968, Peat Resources of Newfoundland. Mineral Resources Report No. 2, 4-5.
[33] Annual Books of ASTM Standards, 2006, Section 4: Construction. 04.08. Soil and Rock (I) D420 –D5611.
[34] Sheldrick, B. H., (Ed) 1984, Analytical Methods Manual, LRRI Contributions No. 84 -30. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, 6/1-3.
[35] Malterer, T. J., Verry, E. S., and Erjavec, J., 1992,Fiber Content and Degree of Decomposi-tion in Peats: Review of National Methods. Soil Sci. Soc. Vol. 56, Issue 4, 1200 – 1211.
[36] Bozkhurt, S., Lucisano, M., Moreno, L., and Neretnieks, I., 2001, Peat as a Potential Ana-logue for the Long-Term Evolution in Landfills, Earth-Sci. Rev. Vol. 53, Issues 1 – 2, 95-147.
[37] Romao, L. P. C., Lead, J. R., Rocha, J. C., de Oliveira, L. C., Rosa, A. H., Mendonca, A. G. R., and Ribeiro, A. d-S., 2007, Structure and Properties of Brazilian Peat: Analysis by Spectroscopy and Microscopy. J. Braz. Chem. Soc. Vol. 18, No. 4, 714 – 720.
[38] Twardowska, I., and Kyziol, J., 1996, Binding and Chemical Fractionation of Heavy Metals in Typical Peat Matter. Fresen. J. Anal. Chem. Vol. 354, No. 5 – 6, 580-586.
[39] Lange, N.A. and Speight, J.G., 2005, Lange’s handbook of Chemistry, 16th Ed., McGraw-Hill, Inc.
[40] Coates, J., 2000, Interpretation of Infrared Spectra, A Practical Approach, IN Meyers, R.A. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., UK, 10815-10837.
[41] Orem, W. H., Neuzil, S. G., Lerch, H. E., and Cecil, C. B., 1996, Experimental early-stage coalification of a peat sample and a peatified wood sample from Indonesia, Org. Geochem., Vol. 24, No. 2, 111-125.
[42] Artz, R. R. E., Chapman, S. J., Robertson, A. H. J., Potts, J. M., Lag-goun-Défarge, F., Gogo, S., Comot, L., Disnar, J. R., and Francez, A. J., 2008, FTIR spectroscopy can be used as a screening tool for organic matter quality regenerating cutover peatlands, Soil Biol and Biochem., Vol 40, No. 2, 515-527.
[43] Cabaniss, S. E., 2008, Quantitative Structure – Property Relationships for Predicting Metal Binding by Organic Ligands, Environ. Sci. Technol., Vol. 42, No. 14, 5210 – 5216.
[44] Preston, C. M., Axelson, D. E., Lévesque, M., Mathur, S. P., Dinel, H., and Dudley, R. L., 1989, Carbon-13 NMR and Chemical Characterization of Particle –Size Separates of Peats Differing in Degree of Decomposition, Org. Geochem., Vol. 14, No. 4, 393 – 403.
[45] Baldrock, J. A., Oades, J. M., Waters, A. G., Peng, X., Vassallo, A. M., and Wilson, M. A., 1992, Aspects of the Chemical Structure of Soil Organic Materials as Revealed by Soli-State 13C NMR Spectroscopy, Biogeochem., Vol. 16, No. 1, 1 – 42.
[46] Mao, J-D., Hu, W-G., Schmidt-Rohr, K., Davies, G., Ghannour, E. A., and Xing, B., 2000, Quantitative Characterization of Humic Substances by Solid-State Carbon-13 NMR, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., Vol. 64, No. 3, 873 – 884.
[47] Almendros, G., Knicker, H., and Gonzalez-Vila, J., 2003, Rearrangement of Carbon and Nitrogen forms in Peat after Progressive Thermal Oxidation as Determined by Solid State 13C and 15N-NMR Spectroscopy, Org. Geochem., Vol. 34, Issue 11, 1559 – 1568.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.