Main content area

Tracing particulate matter and associated microorganisms in freshwaters

Amalfitano, Stefano, Corno, Gianluca, Eckert, Ester, Fazi, Stefano, Ninio, Shira, Callieri, Cristiana, Grossart, Hans-Peter, Eckert, Werner
Hydrobiologia 2017 v.800 no.1 pp. 145-154
analytical methods, biogeochemical cycles, microorganisms, monitoring, particulates, quantitative analysis, risk, sediments
Sediment resuspension represents a key process in all natural aquatic systems, owing to its role in nutrient cycling and transport of potential contaminants. Although suspended solids are generally accepted as an important quality parameter, current monitoring programs cover quantitative aspects only. Established methodologies do not provide information on origin, fate, and risks associated with uncontrolled inputs of solids in waters. Here we discuss the analytical approaches to assess the occurrence and ecological relevance of resuspended particulate matter in freshwaters, with a focus on the dynamics of associated contaminants and microorganisms. Triggered by the identification of specific physical–chemical traits and community structure of particle-associated microorganisms, recent findings suggest that a quantitative determination of microorganisms can be reasonably used to trace the origin of particulate matter by means of nucleic acid-based assays in different aquatic systems.