Extreme Arsenic Bioaccumulation Factor Variability in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Géraldine Sarret, Stéphane Guédron, Dario Acha, Sarah Bureau, Florent Arnaud-Godet, Delphine Tisserand, Marisol Goni-Urriza, Claire Gassie, Céline Duwig, Olivier Proux, Anne Marie Aucour

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14 Scopus citations


Latin America, like other areas in the world, is faced with the problem of high arsenic (As) background in surface and groundwater, with impacts on human health. We studied As biogeochemical cycling by periphyton in Lake Titicaca and the mine-impacted Lake Uru Uru. As concentration was measured in water, sediment, totora plants (Schoenoplectus californicus) and periphyton growing on stems, and As speciation was determined by X-ray absorption spectroscopy in bulk and EDTA-extracted periphyton. Dissolved arsenic was between 5.0 and 15 μg L−1 in Lake Titicaca and reached 78.5 μg L−1 in Lake Uru Uru. As accumulation in periphyton was highly variable. We report the highest As bioaccumulation factors ever measured (BAFsperiphyton up to 245,000) in one zone of Lake Titicaca, with As present as As(V) and monomethyl-As (MMA(V)). Non-accumulating periphyton found in the other sites presented BAFsperiphyton between 1281 and 11,962, with As present as As(III), As(V) and arsenosugars. DNA analysis evidenced several taxa possibly related to this phenomenon. Further screening of bacterial and algal isolates would be necessary to identify the organism(s) responsible for As hyperaccumulation. Impacts on the ecosystem and human health appear limited, but such organisms or consortia would be of great interest for the treatment of As contaminated water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10626
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the CNRS/INSU/EC2CO program through the PHYTOBOL project (P.I.; G. Sarret), and by Labex OSUG@2020 (Investissements d’Avenir – ANR10 LABX56) through the PERIPHYTOBOL (P.I.; G. Sarret) and TRACISOMER (P.I.; S. Guedron) projects. This work was performed within the young research associate team “JEAI TITICACA” (P.I.; D. Acha) supported by the French Institute for sustainable Development (IRD). We also thank the IRD for its technical and logistic support, and the ESRF for the provision of beamtime. We also thank Stephane Perrot-Minnot for his help during campaign PB2 and the analyses, P. Rozynek and M. Leroux for their help in the field sampling, and the technical staff of FAME beamline for their help during data collection. Lastly, we would like to thank Guilhem Caumette and Iris Koch, Raoul Marie-Couture, Andreas Scheinost and Britta Planer-Friedrich for sharing As XAS reference spectra.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).


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