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Recovery potential of periphytic biofilm exposed to industrial contamination: field and experimental studies

Abstract : This study was conducted in a context of impacted hydrosystem remediation in France. The Gironde fluvio-estuarine system has been subjected to polymetallic pollution (Cadmium and Zinc) for over a century, coming from an industrial site specialized in zinc ore treatment carrying contaminated wastes into a small tributary, located about 400 km upstream from the estuary. Since 2007 a major remediation phase has been initiated in the industrial site. This study aims to assess first biological modifications due to remediation procedure on periphytic diatoms biofilms, dominant primary producers in freshwaters. Therefore a yearly biomonitoring of the contamination was conducted in situ through 24 days colonizations cycles along the pollution gradient. The experiments were renewed every 48 days during a year. Glass slides were exposed in three stations located upstream the industrial site and one station dowstream the factory (Joany). After 24 days of colonization the glass slides were scraped to collect biofilm. Different tests were then performed: analyses of metal bioaccumulation, taxonomic investigations, numerations of diatom densities and biomass, and Chlorophyll a concentrations, completed by physicochemical measurements in water. Cadmium and zinc bioaccumulation concentrations were discriminating factors for biofilms from Joany, reaching maximum concentrations in dry weights (DW) of 861 ± 387 μg Cd.g-1 and 21 256 ± 5 701 μg Zn.g-1. Joany biofilms presented high densities too and low BDI values in comparison with the three other stations of colonization, located upstream the industrial site probably in relation with the important nutrients concentrations at this station due to urban wastewaters. Moreover, special attention was devoted to abnormal forms in the taxonomic investigations as it is established in the literature that contaminants promote abnormal forms frequencies. Maximum abnormality rate was observed in biofilms from Joany with 12, value significantly higher compared to biofilm from the 3 other stations below 5. Consequently, initial results show yet a persistence of metallic contamination in situ and high bioaccumulation in biofilms located dowstream industrial site. However, remediation is already perceivable in comparison with previous studies in which bioaccumulation (DW) reached 1809 ± 200 μg Cd.g-1 and 23 750 ± 2 469μg Zn.g-1 after 24 days of colonization at Joany in August 2004. Regarding the frequency of abnormal forms, it remains in the same order of magnitude of 10 to 20 at Joany according to this previous study . To understand in a detailed and integrated way whether the periphytic biofilm can initiate total or partial recovery, laboratory decontamination experiments free of environmental variations have thus been developped. The aim was to characterize the kinetics of biofilm recovery under controlled conditions after in situ and artificial expositions to Cd and Zn following the same analysis criteria than used for in situ experiments. Firsts results have shown a rapid decrease of metallic bioaccumulation with a return to control concentrations after 14 days under recovery conditions. This kind of results suggests the resurgence of sensitive species and the decrease of abnormal forms frequencies and put out diatom biofilm as an appropriate model to reveal effective recovery of polluted freshwater ecosystems.
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Contributor : Migration Irstea Publications <>
Submitted on : Friday, May 15, 2020 - 8:23:52 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 5:34:03 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-02595782, version 1
  • IRSTEA : PUB00033194



A Arini, A. Feurtet Mazel, Michel Coste, François Delmas. Recovery potential of periphytic biofilm exposed to industrial contamination: field and experimental studies. 21st International Diatom Symposium, Aug 2011, St Paul, Minnesota, United States. pp.2. ⟨hal-02595782⟩



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