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Mechanism of Arsenic release in ecosystems of Southeast Asia delta : Mekong Deltas Vietnam

  • Phan, Thi Hai Van
Publication Date
Jan 05, 2017
Kaleidoscope Open Archive
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Aquifer arsenic (As) contamination is occuring throughout deltaic areas of Southeast Asia, including the Mekong Delta, and affects the health of millions of people. As is highly sensitive to fluctuations of redox conditions which are generated by the alternating wet-dry cycles during the monsoonal seasons. A survey of geophysical and chemical characteristics of soil and groundwater in the An Phu district, located in the vicinity of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, shows the occurrence high As aqueous concentration in this region. Chemical and geophysical data indicate a strong positive correlation between As concentrations in the anoxic groundwater and conductivity of soils. In addition, mechanisms of As release are shown to be associated with colloidal and iron (oxyhydr)oxides which undergo microbial mediated reductive dissolution under redox oscilatting conditions. The presence of sulfate microbial reduction potentially stabilizes As in the solid phase and diminish As in the aqueous phase through the adsorption/desorption of As onto iron (oxyhydr)oxides and/ or sulfides with formation of thiols complexes in solid phase. Because of the high pyrite content in sediment, pyrite oxidation may drop in pH values, leads to inhibition of sulfate reducing bacteria and reduces sequestration of dissolved As. Although the biogeochemical cycling of redox sensitive species such as As in dynamic systems is challenging, it has been possible to strengthen our collective understanding of such system.

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