The stability and dispersion of naturally occurring As have been receiving increasing attention, because As is toxic and its contamination is a widespread problem in many countries. This study investigated As fractionation and speciation in organic sediments collected from different depositional settings to elucidate the existence of stable As in humic substances. Eleven organic sediment samples were collected from marine and terrestrial alluvial regions in Hokkaido prefecture, Japan, and the chemical fraction of As and species of humic substances were identified by sequential extraction. In addition, stable As bound in organic matter was evaluated by FT-IR spectroscopy. The As fraction mainly comprised inorganic substances, especially sulfur, iron, and manganese, and terrestrial sediments (lacustrine and inland deposits) were rich in sulfides and Fe and Al (hydr)oxides. When the residual fraction was excluded, the organic fraction of As was higher in seawater sediments than in terrestrial sediments. Among humic substances, cellulose, humic acid, and hydrophilic fulvic acid were clearly associated with As accumulation, and As speciation showed that the As was of organic origin. Cellulose, an organic compound of plant origin, was abundant in As=S and As (III)=O bonds, and As accumulation was higher in sulfur-rich peat sediments, corresponding with the physiological activities of As in plants. Hydrophilic fulvic acid and humic acid in these sediments, originating from small animals and microorganisms in addition to plants, denote higher As contents and abound in As (III, V)=C and C–H, CH3 bonds even in sulfur-rich sediments. The methylated As bonds reflect the ecological transition of organisms.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 25, 2018
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