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The impact of oscillating redox conditions: arsenic immobilisation in contaminated calcareous floodplain soils.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) (2013-04-17)
Christopher T Parsons, Raoul-Marie Couture, Enoma O Omoregie, Fabrizio Bardelli, Jean-Marc Greneche, Gabriela Roman-Ross, Laurent Charlet
ABSTRACT

Arsenic contamination of floodplain soils is extensive and additional fresh arsenic inputs to the pedosphere from human activities are ongoing. We investigate the cumulative effects of repetitive soil redox cycles, which occur naturally during flooding and draining, on a calcareous fluvisol, the native microbial community and arsenic mobility following a simulated contamination event. We show through bioreactor experiments, spectroscopic techniques and modelling that repetitive redox cycling can decrease arsenic mobility during reducing conditions by up to 45%. Phylogenetic and functional analyses of the microbial community indicate that iron cycling is a key driver of observed changes to solution chemistry. We discuss probable mechanisms responsible for the arsenic immobilisation observed in-situ. The proposed mechanisms include, decreased heterotrophic iron reduction due to the depletion of labile particulate organic matter (POM), increases to the proportion of co-precipitated vs. aqueous or sorbed arsenic with α-FeOOH/Fe(OH)3 and potential precipitation of amorphous ferric arsenate.

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