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Electron Microscopy Evidence of Zn Bioauthigenic Sulfides Formation in Polluted Organic Matter-Rich Sediments from the Chicamocha River (Boyacá-Colombia)

1
Grupo de Investigación Gestión Ambiental, Facultad de Ciencias e Ingeniería, Universidad de Boyacá, Campus Tunja, Tunja 15003, Colombia
2
Departamento de Geología y CEACTEMA, Universidad de Jaén, Campus Las Lagunillas, Jaén 23071, Spain
3
Grupo de Investigación Gestión de Recursos Hídricos, Facultad de Ciencias e Ingeniería, Universidad de Boyacá, Tunja 15003, Colombia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(8), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10080673
Received: 8 July 2020 / Revised: 27 July 2020 / Accepted: 28 July 2020 / Published: 29 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Mineralogy and Biogeochemistry)
Electron microscopy and sediment geochemical data from a river basin (the upper Chicamocha river basin, UCRB, Boyacá province, Colombia) affected by anthropogenic activities (wastewater discharges, smelting and agricultural activities) showed the existence of heterogeneously distributed Zn particles in the sediments and sediments with Zn contents above the regional background (42 mg/kg). The objective of this study was to evidence the ZnS sedimentary neoformation in organic matter rich sediments deposited in anthropogenic reservoirs to reveal the processes involved in the sedimentary uptake of Zn from potential pollution sources. The highest Zn concentrations are found in clay minerals and organic matter-rich sediments (up to 427 mg/kg) deposited in slow-flowing reaches of the river associated to La Playa dam. Quartz-rich sediments poor in organic matter deposited in fast flowing segments of the river show very low Zn contents (1–12 mg/kg). Electron microscopy images showed ZnS nanoparticles forming cell-shaped aggregates suggesting that sulfate-reducing microorganisms acted as templates for the partial binding of Zn and for the nucleation and growth of zinc sulfide minerals. A good correlation of Zn with total organic carbon (r = 0.936) and the low potential redox of these sediments (−233 mV) suggest that organic matter was able to maintain oxygen depleted conditions appropriate to the Zn accumulation in the sediments. Our results demonstrate that potentially toxic Zn, originating from anthropic activities, was partially immobilized in organic matter-rich sediments through the precipitation of sulfides. View Full-Text
Keywords: ZnS nanoparticles; cell-shaped aggregates; Zn pollution; organic matter-rich sediments; microbial sulfate-reducing activity ZnS nanoparticles; cell-shaped aggregates; Zn pollution; organic matter-rich sediments; microbial sulfate-reducing activity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Quevedo, C.P.; Jiménez-Millán, J.; Cifuentes, G.R.; Jiménez-Espinosa, R. Electron Microscopy Evidence of Zn Bioauthigenic Sulfides Formation in Polluted Organic Matter-Rich Sediments from the Chicamocha River (Boyacá-Colombia). Minerals 2020, 10, 673. https://doi.org/10.3390/min10080673

AMA Style

Quevedo CP, Jiménez-Millán J, Cifuentes GR, Jiménez-Espinosa R. Electron Microscopy Evidence of Zn Bioauthigenic Sulfides Formation in Polluted Organic Matter-Rich Sediments from the Chicamocha River (Boyacá-Colombia). Minerals. 2020; 10(8):673. https://doi.org/10.3390/min10080673

Chicago/Turabian Style

Quevedo, Claudia P.; Jiménez-Millán, Juan; Cifuentes, Gabriel R.; Jiménez-Espinosa, Rosario. 2020. "Electron Microscopy Evidence of Zn Bioauthigenic Sulfides Formation in Polluted Organic Matter-Rich Sediments from the Chicamocha River (Boyacá-Colombia)" Minerals 10, no. 8: 673. https://doi.org/10.3390/min10080673

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