Quantifying sulfidization and non-sulfidization in long-term in-situ microbial colonized As(V)-ferrihydrite coated sand columns: Insights into As mobility

Di Zhang, Tiantian Ke, Wei Xiu, Cui Ren, Guangyu Cheng, Jonathan Lloyd, Naji Bassil, Laura Richards, David Polya, Guangcai Wang, Huaming Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sulfide-induced reduction (sulfidization) of arsenic (As)-bearing Fe(III) (oxyhydro)oxides may lead to As mobilization in aquifer systems. However, little is known about the relative contributions of sulfidization and non-sulfidization of Fe(III) (oxyhydro)oxides reduction to As mobilization. To address this issue, high As groundwater with low sulfide (LS) and high sulfide (HS) concentrations were pumped through As(V)-bearing ferrihydrite-coated sand columns (LS-column and HS-column, respectively) being settled within wells in the western Hetao Basin, China. Sulfidization of As(V)-bearing ferrihydrite was evidenced by the increase in dissolved Fe(II) and the presence of solid Fe(II) and elemental sulfur (S0) in both the columns. A conceptual model was built using accumulated S0 and Fe(II) produced in the columns to calculate the proportions of sulfidization-induced Fe(III) (oxyhydro)oxide reduction and non-sulfidization-induced Fe(III) (oxyhydro)oxide reduction. Fe(III) reduction via sulfidization occurred preferentially in the inlet ends (LS-column, 31%; HS-column, 86%), while Fe(III) reduction via non-sulfidization processes predominated in the outlet ends (LS-column, 96%; HS-column, 86%), and was attributed to the metabolism of Fe(III)-reducing bacteria (including Shewanella, Ferribacterium, and Desulfuromonas). Arsenic was mobilized in the columns via sulfidization and non-sulfidization processes. More As was released from the solid of the HS-column than that of the LS-column due to the higher intensity of sulfidization in the presence of higher concentrations of dissolved S(-II). Overall, this study highlights the sulfidization of As-bearing Fe(III) (oxyhydro)oxides as an important As-mobilizing pathway in complex As-Fe-S bio-hydrogeochemical networks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 4 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Ferrihydrite
  • Sulfidization
  • Biological processes
  • Iron oxide

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