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Elemental and biomarker characteristics in a Pleistocene aquifer vulnerable to arsenic contamination in the Bengal Delta Plain, India
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Indian Institute Science Educ and Research Kolkata, India.
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Indian Institute Science Educ and Research Kolkata, India.
2015 (English)In: Applied Geochemistry, ISSN 0883-2927, E-ISSN 1872-9134, Vol. 61, 87-98 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

An elevated level of arsenic (As) in the Indo-Gangetic delta plain aquifers has been reported since the 1990s. Organic matter (OM) present in groundwater and aquifer sediments supports the microbial communities in these aquifers. During installation of a drinking water well, 26 sediment intervals of 6 m each were retrieved up till 156 m from a Pleistocene brown sand aquifer (BSA). Grain size distribution, sequential extraction of metals and total extractable lipids were analyzed in each sample. These parameters were statistically correlated in order to establish relationship between the physical vs. inorganic and organic characteristics, and how these properties affected the distribution of As in BSAs. The aquifer sediments consisted of medium to coarse sand except the surface sediments and those at the bottom of the well, which had high clay and slit content. Arsenic (As) concentration in sediments ranged from 2 to 21 mg/kg and indicated a strong correlation with grain size. Arsenic was mostly associated with crystalline oxides and silicate-rich minerals. Arsenic showed significant correlation with Fe in all fractions, and suggests presence of pyrite bound As-bearing minerals in these sediments. The diagnostic sedimentary lipid biomarkers indicated presence of compounds derived from vascular plants and microbial cell wall. This inference was supported by various diagnostic lipid ratios. The biomarkers were abundant in surface and deeper layers, which had high clay and silt content. The BSA sediments indicated preferential preservation of n-alkanes over other functional compounds, which were more reactive and subject to degradation. The thick clay layer at 132-156 m contained visible plant fragments, and OM in this layer indicated preferential preservation of organic carbon most likely due to the absence of specific microbial communities that degraded these compounds and mobilized As. Statistical analyses indicated the influence of selective inorganic and organic components (As, Fe and fatty acids) controlling the co-distribution of various inorganic and organic components in the aquifer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD , 2015. Vol. 61, 87-98 p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122048DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2015.05.007ISI: 000360654200008OAI: diva2:885475

Funding Agencies|Department of Science and Technology, Government of India; Swedish Research Link-Asia Program [2009-6470]; Linkoping University, Sweden

Available from: 2015-12-18 Created: 2015-10-19 Last updated: 2016-05-27
In thesis
1. Distribution and Biogeochemical Cycling of Arsenic In Grey and Brown Sand Aquifers in the Bengal Delta Plains (India)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Distribution and Biogeochemical Cycling of Arsenic In Grey and Brown Sand Aquifers in the Bengal Delta Plains (India)
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Distribution och biogeokemiska cykler av Arsenik i grått och brunt sand akviferer i Bengal Delta Plains (Indien)
Abstract [en]

An elevated level of Arsenic (As) in aquifers from India and Bangladesh affecting the human health has been widely reported since the late 1980s. The thesis aim is to investigate the present status of As contamination and biogeochemical cycling with direct role of diverse indigenous bacterial communities in As cycling in the Bengal Delta Plain (BDP) aquifers in Nadia district, West Bengal (India). The As(III) oxidizing bacterial communities were predominant in grey sand aquifers (GSA), but were characteristically absent in brown sand aquifers (BSA). Rainwater recharge containing inorganic and organic dissolved compounds played an important role in shaping the different groups of bacterial phenotypes. It included thearsenite-oxidizing bacteria as revealed by the aioA and 16S rRNA phylogeny. These bacterial communities in BDP groundwater were assumed to utilize the dissolved and sedimentary organic carbon (DOC and SOC) as the primary carbon source for respiration, and remobilization/immobilization of As involving reductive dissolution of iron oxyhydroxides. Hence, sediment and groundwater of these aquifer waters were characterized for their different inorganic constituents (metals) and organic compound classes. There were notable differences between the groundwater DOC and SOC pools. The only similarity between these carbon pools is presence of petroleum-derived hydrocarbons. The SOC in BSA has good correlation with the clay and silt-rich fraction. Notably, As formed complexes with iron, but not manganese. Biomarker characterization in sediments showed presence of terrigenous inputs along with petroleum-derived hydrocarbons. However, these hydrocarbons were absent in BSA sediments, and so were the arsenite oxidizing bacterial communities. Although DOC in groundwater plays an important role in sustaining the microorganisms, the contrasting character of SOC in BSA and GSA strongly influence the shaping of microbial community structure and biogeochemical cycling of As. This particularly affects the natural ‘safe’ drinking water capacity. Overall, the study gives a new directionfor long-term research on As biogeochemical cycling in the contaminated BDP aquifers.

Abstract [sv]

Sedan 1980-talet har förhöjda nivåer av arsenik (As) uppmätts i akvifärer i Indien och Bangladesh, vilket kan orsaka stora hälsoproblem då arsenik är giftigt för människor. Syftet med denna avhandling är både att undersökaaktuell föroreningsstatus av As i akvifärer i det Bengaliska Deltat (BDP), Nadia distriktet, Västbengalen (Indien) och att undersöka As biogeokemiskaomsättningsamt roll i olika inhemska bakteriella samhällen. Resultaten visar att As (III) oxiderande bakteriesamhällen var dominerande i grå akvifärsand (GSA), men hittades intei brun akvifärsand (BSA). Det visar sig också att tillförsel av regnvatten med oorganiska och organiska lösta föreningar spelar en viktig roll för att skapaolika grupper av bakteriella fenotyperdärarsenitoxiderande bakterier ingick vilket framkommedaioA och 16S rRNA fylogeni. Dessa bakteriesamhällen i BDPs grundvatten utnyttjar troligtvis det upplösta och sedimentära organiska kolet (DOC och SOC) som primär kolkälla för andning, och hjälper till att lösa upp järnhydroxidervid mobilisering av As. Därför kan sediment och grundvatten i dessa grundvattenakvifärer karaktäriseras genomderas olika oorganiska beståndsdelar (metaller) och organiska föreningar. Det fanns ocksåtydliga skillnader mellan DOC och SOC pooler i grundvatten och akvifärmaterial. Den enda likheten mellan dessa kolpooler är förekomst av petroleumbaserade kolväten. SOC i BSA korrelerar med ler- och siltfraktioner. Vidare såbildades As komplex med järn, men inte med mangan. Karakterisering med hjälp av biomarkörer i sediment visade närvaro av terrestra samt och petroleumbaserade kolväten. Dessa kolväten hittades inte i sediment från BSA, och inte heller arsenitoxiderande bakteriesamhällen. Även om DOC i grundvatten spelar en viktig roll förmikroorganismerna, så påverkar olika SOC i BSA och GSA de  mikrobiella samhällsstrukturerna och den biogeokemiska omsättningen av As. Detta påverkarsärskilt den naturligt "säkra" dricksvattenkapaciteten. Sammantaget ger studien en ny riktning för långsiktig forskning om As biogeokemiska cykel i förorenade BDP akvifärer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 80 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 670
Arsenic, aquifer, arsenite oxidation, aioA gene, Bengal delta plains, biogeochemical cycling biomarkers, DOC, SOC, Arsenik, akvifärer, arsenitoxiderande, aioA gene, Bengal delta plains, biogeokemiska omsättning, biomarkörer, DOC, SOC
National Category
Geochemistry Water Treatment Microbiology Geosciences, Multidisciplinary Water Engineering Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126598 (URN)978-91-7685-830-1 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-03-22, TEMCAS, T- House, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-03-31 Created: 2016-03-31 Last updated: 2016-06-14Bibliographically approved

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