Seasonal variations in arsenic mobility and bacterial diversity: The case study of Huangshui Creek, Shimen Realgar Mine, Hunan Province, China
Li, W; Liu, J; Hudson-Edwards, KA
Date: 17 September 2020
Science of The Total Environment
Rivers throughout the world have been contaminated by arsenic dispersed from mining activities. The biogeochemical cycling of this arsenic has been shown to be due to factors such as pH, Eh, ionic strength and microbial activity, but few studies have examined the effects of both seasonal changes and microbial community structure on ...
Rivers throughout the world have been contaminated by arsenic dispersed from mining activities. The biogeochemical cycling of this arsenic has been shown to be due to factors such as pH, Eh, ionic strength and microbial activity, but few studies have examined the effects of both seasonal changes and microbial community structure on arsenic speciation and flux in mining-affected river systems. To address this research gap, a study was carried out in Huangshui Creek, Hunan province, China, which has been severely impacted by long-term historic realgar (α-As4S4) mining. Water and sediment sampling, and batch experiments at different temperatures using creek sediment, were used to determine the form, source and mobility of arsenic. Pentavalent (AsO43−) and trivalent arsenic (AsO33−) were the dominant aqueous species (70–89% and 30–11%, respectively) in the creek, and the maximum concentration of inorganic arsenic in surface water was 10,400 μg/L. Dry season aqueous arsenic concentrations were lower than those in the wet season samples. The sediments contained both arsenate and arsenite, and relative proportions of these varied with season. 8.3 tons arsenic per annum were estimated to be exported from Huangshui Creek. Arsenic release from sediment increased by 3 to 5 times in high water temperature batch experiments (25 and 37 °C) compared to those carried out at low temperature (8 °C). Our data suggest that the arsenic-containing sediments were the main source of arsenic contamination in Huangshui Creek. Microbial community structured varied at the different sample sites along the creek. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that both temperature and arsenic concentrations were the main controlling factors on the structure of the microbial community. Protecbacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria, Firmicutes, Verrucomicrobia, and Planctomycetes were the stable dominant phyla in both dry and wet seasons. The genera Flavobacterium, Hydrogenophaga and Sphingomonas occurred in the most highly arsenic contaminated sites, which removed arsenic by related metabolism.Our findings indicate that seasonal variations profoundly control arsenic flux and species, microbial community structure and ultimately, the biogeochemical fate of arsenic.
Camborne School of Mines
College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
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