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Arsenic in the terrestrial environment : an analysis of the Bridge River District Haug, Corinne

Abstract

Terrestrial samples collected from the Bridge River district, a mining area in British Columbia, were analyzed for arsenic. Soils from the abandoned Pioneer mine were analyzed by neutron activation analysis (NAA). The concentrations of these samples ranged from 35-1623 μg As/g. Total arsenic content of digested tree samples was determined by using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The results support the previous finding that Douglas-fir trees accumulate arsenic to a high degree. Comparison of arsenic content with tissues type and age reveals a trend that suggests the translocation of arsenic is from roots to needles. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with ICP-MS was used for the determination of arsenic species in all tree samples. Inorganic arsenic, arsenate and arsenite, were the predominant species extracted from trees. Trace amounts of DMA and MMA were found in some samples. The interaction of bacteria and fungi with arsenic was investigated to yield information regarding the biotransformation of arsenic by microorganisms. Bacteria and fungi from the mine soils were isolated and pure cultures were obtained. Hydride generation-gas chromatography with atomic absorption spectrometric detection (HG-GC-AAS) was used to identify and quantify arsenic metabolites in the growth media of soil fungi amended with arsenate. Arsenate was reduced to arsenite, and methylated to DMA and TMAO by one of the isolates.

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