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Condens. Matter 2018, 3(3), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/condmat3030024

Post-Depositional Biodegradation Processes of Pollutants on Glacier Surfaces

1
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza, 1 20126 Milano, Italy
2
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Milan, via Celoria, 2 20133 Milano, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 July 2018 / Revised: 6 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 11 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Condensed Matter Researches in Cryospheric Science)
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Abstract

Glaciers are important fresh-water reservoirs for our planet. Although they are often located at high elevations or in remote areas, glacial ecosystems are not pristine, as many pollutants can undergo long-range atmospheric transport and be deposited on glacier surface, where they can be stored for long periods of time, and then be released into the down-valley ecosystems. Understanding the dynamics of these pollutants in glaciers is therefore important for assessing their environmental fate. To this aim, it is important to study cryoconite holes, small ponds filled with water and with a layer of sediment, the cryoconite, at the bottom, which occur on the surface of most glaciers. Indeed, these environments are hotspots of biodiversity on glacier surface as they host metabolically active bacterial communities that include generalist taxa able to degrade pollutants. In this work, we aim to review the studies that have already investigated pollutant (e.g., chlorpyrifos and polychlorinated-biphenyls (PCBs)) degradation in cryoconite holes and other supraglacial environmental matrices. These studies have revealed that bacteria play a significant role in pollutant degradation in these habitats and can be positively selected in contaminated environments. We will also provide indication for future research in this field. View Full-Text
Keywords: cryoconite; POPs; microbiology; long-range transport; cryosphere; contaminants; bacteria cryoconite; POPs; microbiology; long-range transport; cryosphere; contaminants; bacteria
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Pittino, F.; Ambrosini, R.; Azzoni, R.S.; Diolaiuti, G.A.; Villa, S.; Gandolfi, I.; Franzetti, A. Post-Depositional Biodegradation Processes of Pollutants on Glacier Surfaces. Condens. Matter 2018, 3, 24.

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