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Concept: Sediments


The effects of monorhamnolipid (RL-F1) and dirhamnolipid (RL-F2) on the sorption and desorption of triclosan (TCS) in sediment-water system were investigated in this study. Results of the bath equilibrium experiments showed that RL-F2 provided much higher solubilization enhancement for TCS than RL-F1. Sorption of both rhamnolipids by the sediments was highly correlated with the sediment clay content. Moreover, the apparent distribution coefficients of TCS K(d)(∗) decreased with the increase of rhamnolipid concentration (0.05-7.5mM), and RL-F2 presented a larger distribution capacity of TCS into the aqueous phase at relatively higher concentrations (>2.5mM). Further results also indicated that the release of TCS from sediment could be enhanced by both rhamnolipids. RL-F2 was more efficient than RL-F1 in desorbing TCS from the sediment with low clay content. The TCS desorption percentages R(d)(∗) of RL-F2 (5mM) was 1.8-2.4 times that of RL-F1. These findings could provide useful guidelines for the application of rhamnolipid-enhanced remediation technologies for TCS contaminated sediment.

Concepts: Concentration, Chemistry, Erosion, Aqueous solution, Silt, Phase diagram, Parts-per notation, Sediments


Microplastics (plastic particles, 0.1 μm-5 mm in size) are widespread marine pollutants, accumulating in benthic sediments and shorelines the world over. To gain a clearer understanding of microplastic availability to marine life, and the risks they pose to the health of benthic communities, ecological processes and food security, it is important to obtain accurate measures of microplastic abundance in marine sediments. To date, methods for extracting microplastics from marine sediments have been disadvantaged by complexity, expense, low extraction efficiencies and incompatibility with very fine sediments. Here we present a new, portable method to separate microplastics from sediments of differing types, using the principle of density floatation. The Sediment-Microplastic Isolation (SMI) unit is a custom-built apparatus which consistently extracted microplastics from sediments in a single step, with a mean efficiency of 95.8% (±SE 1.6%; min 70%, max 100%). Zinc chloride, at a density of 1.5 g cm(-3), was deemed an effective and relatively inexpensive floatation media, allowing fine sediment to settle whilst simultaneously enabling floatation of dense polymers. The method was validated by artificially spiking sediment with low and high density microplastics, and its environmental relevance was further tested by extracting plastics present in natural sediment samples from sites ranging in sediment type; fine silt/clay (mean size 10.25 ± SD 3.02 μm) to coarse sand (mean size 149.3 ± SD 49.9 μm). The method presented here is cheap, reproducible and is easily portable, lending itself for use in the laboratory and in the field, eg. on board research vessels. By employing this method, accurate estimates of microplastic type, distribution and abundance in natural sediments can be achieved, with the potential to further our understanding of the availability of microplastics to benthic organisms.

Concepts: Lake, Sediment, Oceanography, Benthos, Abyssal plain, Gravel, Expense, Sediments


The sediment rejection ability of 8 coral species of 5 families and 3 morphologies were assessed in a series of short term exposure tests over a sedimentation range of 0.5-40mgcm(-2)d(-1) and one longer term exposure test of 235mgcm(-2). Sediment accumulation rates on live corals and dead (enamel-covered) skeletons varied between morphologies, with branching species often more adept at self-cleaning. Flow rates (0-17cms(-1)) significantly affected sediment-shedding ability as did differences in particle sizes, with coarse silt rejected faster than fine silt, but only at very high (235mgcm(-2)) deposition rates. Siliciclastic sediment was rejected faster than carbonate sediments and smothering for many days by mms of low organic content carbonate sediment resulted in bleaching, but no mortality. The findings are discussed with respect to turbidity generated in natural and dredging-related resuspension events and in the context for impact prediction for dredging projects.

Concepts: Species, Lake, Sediment, Coral, Sedimentary rock, Erosion, Silt, Sediments


Mercury concentrations were investigated in freshwater sediment from two canals in Scotland, UK. High concentrations found in the Union Canal (35.3-1200 mg kg(-1)) likely originate from historical munitions manufacture, with lower levels in the Forth & Clyde Canal (0.591-9.14 mg kg(-1)). Concentrations of methylmercury (MeHg) were low - from 6.02 to 18.6 μg kg(-1) (0.001-0.023% of total Hg) in the Union Canal and from 3.44 to 14.1 μg kg(-1) (0.11-0.58% of total Hg) in the Forth & Clyde Canal - and there was a significant inverse relationship between total Hg concentration and %MeHg. Total Hg concentration was significantly negatively correlated with pH and positively correlated with Fe content (in the Union Canal only) but not with organic matter, S content or the proportion of clay present. The MeHg concentration was not correlated with any of the above sediment parameters. Ethylmercury was detected in the most highly contaminated sediments from the Union Canal.

Concepts: Electrochemistry, Chemistry, River, Erosion, England, Scotland, Methylmercury, Sediments


Physical heterogeneity determines interstitial fluxes in porous media. Nutrients and organic matter distribution in depth influence physicochemical and microbial processes occurring in subsurface. Columns 50 cm long were filled with sterile silica sand following 5 different setups combining fine and coarse sands or a mixture of both mimicking potential water treatment barriers. Water was supplied continuously to all columns during 33 days. Hydraulic conductivity, nutrients and organic matter, biofilm biomass and activity were analysed in order to study the effect of spatial grain size heterogeneity on physicochemical and microbial processes and their mutual interaction. Coarse sediments showed higher biomass and activity in deeper areas compared to the others; however, they resulted in incomplete denitrification, large proportion of dead bacteria in depth, and low functional diversity. Treatments with fine sediment in the upper 20 cm of the columns showed high phosphorous retention. However, low hydraulic conductivity values reported in these sediments seemed to constraint biofilm activity and biomass. On the other hand, sudden transition from coarse-to-fine grain sizes promoted a hot-spot of organic matter degradation and biomass growth at the interface. Our results reinforce the idea that grain-size disposition in subsurface sandy sediments drives the interstitial fluxes, influencing microbial processes.

Concepts: Bacteria, Sediment, Water pollution, Soil, Porosity, Maize, Sand, Sediments


The present study was carried out to determine the efficacy of root foraging and the physiological response of Vallisnaria natans grown in heterogeneous sediments. V. natans was cultivated in two homogeneous and two heterogeneous sediments. The results suggested that V. natans grown in heterogeneous sediments presented a significantly higher root proportion in its total biomass, exhibited root foraging, and grew well, as indicated by a total biomass, ramet number, and plant height very close to those of plants grown in nutrient-rich clay sediment. Moreover, the more sensitive physiological response of the roots than the stems or the leaves to sediment nutrients suggested that root foraging occurred, and the approached values between the two heterogeneous sediments and the homogeneous clay sediment indicated that V. natans could satisfy its nutrient requirements via root foraging. The results may be useful in the recovery of macrophytes that remodel part (rather than all) of the substrate and can potentially improve habitats that are unsuitable for plant growth.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Plant, Eutrophication, Nutrient, Sedimentary rock, Erosion, Root, Sediments


Glyphosate is one of the most used herbicides in agricultural lands worldwide. Wind-eroded sediment and dust, as an environmental transport pathway of glyphosate and of its main metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), can result in environmental- and human exposure far beyond the agricultural areas where it has been applied. Therefore, special attention is required to the airborne transport of glyphosate and AMPA. In this study, we investigated the behavior of glyphosate and AMPA in wind-eroded sediment by measuring their content in different size fractions (median diameters between 715 and 8 μm) of a loess soil, during a period of 28 days after glyphosate application. Granulometrical extraction was done using a wind tunnel and a Soil Fine Particle Extractor. Extractions were conducted on days 0, 3, 7, 14, 21 and 28 after glyphosate application. Results indicated that glyphosate and AMPA contents were significantly higher in the finest particle fractions (median diameters between 8 and 18 μm), and lowered significantly with the increase in particle size. However, their content remained constant when aggregates were present in the sample. Glyphosate and AMPA contents correlated positively with clay, organic matter, and silt content. The dissipation of glyphosate over time was very low, which was most probably due to the low soil moisture content of the sediment. Consequently, the formation of AMPA was also very low. The low dissipation of glyphosate in our study indicates that the risk of glyphosate transport in dry sediment to off-target areas by wind can be very high. The highest glyphosate and AMPA contents were found in the smallest soil fractions (PM10 and less), which are easily inhaled and, therefore, contribute to human exposure.

Concepts: Soil, Erosion, Silt, Organic matter, Loess, Water content, Aeolian processes, Sediments


Single grain zircon U-Pb geochronology has demonstrated great potentials in extracting tectonic and atmospheric circulation signal carried by aeolian, fluvial, and fluviolacustrine sediments. A routine in this sort of studies is analyzing 100-150 grains and then compares zircon U-Pb age spectra between the measured sample and the potential sources. Here we compared the zircon U-Pb age results of the late Miocene-Pliocene Red Clay sequence of two neighboring sites from the Chinese Loess Plateau where similar provenance signal is expected. Although the results from the 5.5 Ma sediment support this prediction, the results from the 3 Ma sediment at these two sites differ from each other significantly. These results emphasize the importance of increasing analysis number per sample and combining the zircon U-Pb geochronology with other provenance tools in order to get reliable provenance information.

Concepts: Sediment, Erosion, Silt, Loess Plateau, Zircon, Aeolian processes, Sediments, Sedimentology


Information on sediment contribution and transport dynamics from the contributing catchments is needed to develop management plans to tackle environmental problems related with effects of fine sediment as reservoir siltation. In this respect, the fingerprinting technique is an indirect technique known to be valuable and effective for sediment source identification in river catchments. Large variability in sediment delivery was found in previous studies in the Barasona catchment (1509 km(2), Central Spanish Pyrenees). Simulation results with SWAT and fingerprinting approaches identified badlands and agricultural uses as the main contributors to sediment supply in the reservoir. In this study the <63 μm sediment fraction from the surface reservoir sediments (2 cm) are investigated following the fingerprinting procedure to assess how the use of different statistical procedures affects the amounts of source contributions. Three optimum composite fingerprints were selected to discriminate between source contributions based in land uses/land covers from the same dataset by the application of (1) discriminant function analysis; and its combination (as second step) with (2) Kruskal-Wallis H-test and (3) principal components analysis. Source contribution results were different between assessed options with the greatest differences observed for option using #3, including the two step process: principal components analysis and discriminant function analysis. The characteristics of the solutions by the applied mixing model and the conceptual understanding of the catchment showed that the most reliable solution was achieved using #2, the two step process of Kruskal-Wallis H-test and discriminant function analysis. The assessment showed the importance of the statistical procedure used to define the optimum composite fingerprint for sediment fingerprinting applications.

Concepts: Statistics, Sediment, Assessment, Erosion, C, Fingerprint, Pyrenees, Sediments


This study was carried out to evaluate the present-day chemical properties of methylmercury in surface sediment in Minamata Bay where a dredging project was completed 28years ago. Present-day sediment from Minamata Bay consists of sandy silt, and the average loss-on-ignition in surface sediment was 7.0±2.3%. The average methylmercury concentrations in the upper sediment layers were significantly higher than those in the lower sediment layers. Currently, the concentrations in sediments in Minamata Bay do not exceed the Japanese regulatory standard value for mercury. The average concentration of methylmercury in Minamata Bay surface sediment was 1.74±1.0ng/g on a dry weight basis (n=107). The methylmercury concentration in Minamata Bay surface sediment was almost 16 times higher than that in surface sediment from Isahaya Bay surface sediment, which was 0.11±0.045ng/g on a dry weight basis (n=5).

Concepts: Sediment, Chemistry, Water pollution, Sedimentary rock, Erosion, Silt, Minamata disease, Sediments