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Coupling geochemical and biological approaches to assess the availability of cadmium in freshwater sediment

Dabrin, Aymeric, Durand, Cyrielle L., Garric, Jeanne, Geffard, Olivier, Ferrari, Benoit J.D., Coquery, Marina
The Science of the total environment 2012 v.424 pp. 308-315
Chironomus riparius, Gammarus fossarum, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, benthic organisms, cadmium, freshwater, sediments, supply balance
Sediments are considered as a sink for metals, and the assessment of metal bioavailability for benthic organisms represents a great challenge. Diffusive Gradient in Thin films (DGT), developed to measure labile metals in aquatic media, have more recently been applied to sediment. Nevertheless, few studies have determined the relation between measurements from DGT and bioaccumulation in different benthic organisms. The aim of our work was to determine if labile metal measured by DGT in sediment is representative of bioavailable metal for benthic organisms. We focused our work on Cd and chose to use the diversity of ecological traits from different organisms to better understand the measurement given by DGT. We exposed simultaneously DGT and 3 macroinvertebrates species (the chironomid, Chironomus riparius; the amphipod, Gammarus fossarum; the mudsnail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum) to a natural sediment Cd-spiked at environmental relevant concentrations. The nature of sediment-bound Cd was also determined by means of sequential extractions in order to better interpret DGT measurements. Cadmium concentrations were determined in DGT and in the 3 organisms after one week of exposure. Results provided by DGT indicated that Cd was poorly released from particulate phase to pore water, suggesting that Cd measured by DGT was representative of the pore water labile fraction. Sequential extractions showed that the percentage of Cd bound to carbonate fraction increased simultaneously with Cd-spiking level; hence, this Cd fraction was poorly reactive to supply DGT demand. Cadmium accumulation rates were similar between DGT measurements and P. antipodarum, suggesting that labile Cd in pore waters was representative of bioavailable Cd for this species. Cadmium accumulation rates in C. riparius were higher than in DGT, demonstrating that C. riparius can mobilize Cd bound to carbonate phase. G. fossarum showed the lowest Cd accumulation rates, suggesting that they were mainly exposed to Cd from overlaying waters.