Amino acids are present in various geochemical environments and they interact with mineral surfaces. To evaluate the effects of amino acids on mineral dissolution at pH conditions less than their isoelectric points (pI), dissolution experiments of X-ray amorphous silica in solutions containing 10.0 mmol/L of various amino acids (cysteine, asparagine, serine, tryptophan, alanine, threonine, histidine, lysine, and arginine) at pH 4 were performed. The results confirmed that basic amino acids (histidine, lysine, and arginine) produce an 8- to 8.5-fold enhancement of the rate of dissolution of amorphous silica compared with an amino acid-free control. Neutral amino acids (cysteine, asparagine, serine, tryptophan, alanine, and threonine) enhanced rates of dissolution by a factor of ~3 to 3.5. The rate-enhancement effects of amino acids are controlled by concentrations of the amino acid’s cationic species which interact with the negatively charged >SiO sites at the surface of the amorphous silica.

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