Speciation of arsenic in bulk and rhizosphere soils from artisanal cooperative mines in Bolivia

Journal ar
  • Volumen: 138
  • Fecha: 01 January 2015
  • Páginas: 1014-1020
  • ISSN: 18791298 00456535
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.12.050
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Soils near artisanal and small-scale gold mines (ASGM) have high arsenic (As) contents due to the presence of arsenopyrite in gold ores and accelerated accumulations due to mine wastes disposal practices and other mining activities. We determined the content and speciation to understand the fate and environmental risks of As accumulations in 24 bulk and 12 rhizosphere soil samples collected in the Virgen Del Rosario and the Rayo Rojo cooperative mines in the highlands of Bolivia. Mean total As contents in bulk and rhizosphere soils ranged from 13 to 64mgkg-1 and exceeded the soil environmental quality guidelines of Canada. Rhizosphere soils always contained at least twice the As contents in the bulk soil. Elemental mapping using 4×5¿m synchrotron-generated X-ray micro-beam revealed As accumulations in areas enriched with Fe. Results of As-X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy (As-XANES) showed that only As(V) species was detectable in all samples regardless of As contents, size fractions and types of vegetation. Although the toxicity of As(V) is less than As(III), we suggest that As uptake of commonly-grazed vegetation by alpaca and llama must be determined to fully understand the environmental risks of high As in soils near ASGM in Bolivia. In addition, knowledge on the speciation of the As bio-accessible fraction will provide another useful information to better understand the fate and transfer of As from soils into the food chain in environments associated with the ASGM in Bolivia and other parts of the world.

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