Ecotoxicity of pore water in soils developed on historical arsenic mine dumps: The effects of forest litter.

Author(s) Dradrach, A.; Szopka, K.; Karczewska, A.
Journal Ecotoxicol Environ Saf
Date Published 2019 Oct 15

Arsenic release from dump soils in historical mining sites poses the environmental risk. Decomposing forest litter can affect mobilization of As and other toxic elements, change their speciation in pore water and influence the toxicity to biota. This study examined the chemistry and ecotoxicity of pore water acquired from four soils that developed on the dumps in former As mining sites, in the presence and absence of forest litter collected from beech and spruce stands. Soils contained 1540-19600 mg/kg of As. Pore water was collected after 2, 7, 21 and 90 days of incubation, using MacroRhizon suction samplers. Its chemical analysis involved determination of pH, the concentrations of As, Cu and Pb (the elements with high enrichment factor Igeo>3), as well as metals considered most mobile: Cd, Zn and Mn. Ecotoxicity of pore water was examined in three bioassays: Microtox, MARA and Phytotox with Sinapis alba as test plant. The release of As, unlike heavy metals, was particularly intensive from the soils with neutral and alkaline pH. The concentrations of toxic elements in pore water were in broad ranges, up to dozens mg/L. The results of Phytotox had a poor precision, but their means correlated well with As concentrations in pore water, which indicates that As made a crucial factor of phytotoxicity. The outcomes of Microtox bioassay indicated poorer relationships between As concentrations and toxicity, and other factors contributed to ecotoxicity at very low and very high As concentrations. The highest toxicity was recorded from the soils treated with forest litter. MARA turned out to be not sensitive enough to give reproducible results in experimental conditions. The PCA analysis confirmed that the growth of microbes in MARA bioassay was poorly dependent on As and metals in pore water except for a yeast Pichia anomala (No 11). The results let us conclude that the bioassays Phytotox and Microtox can provide useful information on ecotoxicity of pore water in soils that develop on As-rich dumps whereas applicability of MARA in those conditions proved limited.

DOI 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.05.079
ISSN 1090-2414
Citation Dradrach A, Szopka K, Karczewska A. Ecotoxicity of pore water in soils developed on historical arsenic mine dumps: The effects of forest litter. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2019;181:202-213.