The adsorption of DL-alanine at pH 4, 6 and 8 by a soil allophane has been determined. Two sets of experiments were carried out: (1) in which the allophane had been kept in a moist state throughout; and (2) in which the mineral had previously been dried at 50 degrees C. In both instances, the adsorption isotherms showed three distinct regions as the concentration of alanine in solution was increased: (1) an initial, nearly linear, rise at low equilibrium concentrations; (2) a levelling off to a plateau at intermediate concentrations; and (3) a steep linear increase at high concentrations. For comparable concentrations of alanine in solution, adsorption decreased in the order pH 6 > pH 8 > pH 4. Irrespective of pH, however, more alanine was adsorbed by the "wet" allophane than by its "dry" counterpart. These observations are interpreted in terms of the morphology and aggregation of allophane unit particles together with the pH-dependent charge characteristics of allophane and alanine. The results are compared with published data on the adsorption of alanine by montmorillonite.

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