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Sci Total Environ. 2004 Jul 26;328(1-3):275-86.

Simultaneous release of sulfide with Fe, Mn, Ni and Zn in marine harbour sediment measured using a combined metal/sulfide DGT probe.

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  • 1IENS, ES, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK.


The technique of DGT (Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films) was further developed to allow simultaneous measurement of sulfide and trace metals at the same location in sediment. The new combined DGT probe consisted of a layer of gel impregnated with AgI, overlain by (1) a layer of gel containing Chelex, (2) a layer of gel and (3) a filter membrane. Diffusion of sulfide was controlled by layers (1) to (3), while diffusion of metals was controlled by layers (2) and (3). The Chelex gel trapped metals that were measured after elution with acid. The AgI gel trapped sulfide through the formation of Ag2S. This was then measured densitometrically as the colour changed from pale yellow to grey. Experiments demonstrated that concentrations of metal or sulfide measured by the combined device were no different to the concentrations measured by more conventional devices. The presence of Chelex in the gel did not impede the diffusion of sulfide. Deployment of a combined probe in marine sediment revealed simultaneous remobilisation of metals and sulfide at the same location. Solubility calculations indicated that some precipitation of amorphous FeS was probably occurring at the maxima in sulfide concentrations. There was general undersaturation with respect to NiS, but ZnS was supersaturated at all locations. There appeared to be localised active zones of organic matter decomposition, where reduction of manganese oxides, iron oxides and sulfate occurred simultaneously. Mass balance calculations indicated that Ni could not be supplied by release from decomposing organic matter. Manganese oxides were the most likely source, but supply from reductive dissolution of iron oxides could not be entirely discounted. Supply from either Fe or Mn oxides could account for the Zn maxima. Application of the newly developed combined probe provides new information that helps understanding of the complex nature of trace metal and sulfur chemistry in sediments.

Copyright 2004 Elsevier B.V.

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