Advertisement

Anaerobic pyrite oxidation in a naturally occurring pyrite-rich sediment under preload surcharge

  • O. Karikari-YeboahEmail author
  • W. Skinner
  • J. Addai-Mensah
Article
  • 30 Downloads

Abstract

Pyrite undergoes oxidation when exposed to aqueous oxygen to produce acidic leachate with high concentrations of H+, SO42−, and Fe3+. The oxidation mechanism is currently ascribed to contact between the mineral and aqueous oxygen. Consequently, management of acidic leachate from acid sulfate soils and acid mine drainage is focused on the prevention of contact between the sediment and aqueous oxygen through the surface. Intriguing though is the fact that in aquatic sediments, redox processes occur in sequence with the oxidizing agents. Among the common oxidants in aquatic sediments are O2, \( {\mathrm{NO}}_3^{-} \), Mn, and Fe, in the order of efficiency. Consequently, following the depletion of oxygen in pyrite-rich sediment, it would be expected that \( {\mathrm{NO}}_3^{-} \), followed by Mn and then Fe, would continue the oxidation process. However, evidence of anaerobic pyrite oxidation in a naturally occurring pyrite-rich sediment is limited. Few studies have investigated the process in aquatic systems but mostly in laboratory experimental set ups. In this study, pyrite oxidation in a naturally occurring pyrite-rich sediment was investigated. A section of the sediment was covered with surface surcharge, in the form of compacted fill. The section of the sediment outside the surcharged area was preserved and used as control experiment. Solid phase soil and porewater samples were subjected to elemental, mineralogical, and microbial analyses. The results show excess accumulation of sulfate and sulfide in the anoxic zones of the original sediment and beneath the surcharge, accompanied by the disappearance of \( {\mathrm{NO}}_3^{-} \), Mn, and Fe in the anoxic zones, indicating electron transfers between donors and acceptors, with pyrite as the most likely electron donor. The study outcome poses a significant challenge to the use of surface cover for the management of acidic leachate from pyrite oxidation, particularly, in areas rich in \( {\mathrm{NO}}_3^{-} \), MnO2, or Fe.

Keywords

Iron sulfide minerals Anaerobic pyrite oxidation Porewater Surface cover 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was founded by Maiden Geotechnics and Australian Commonwealth Scholarship awarded by the University of South Australia to the first author.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Abicht, H. K., Mancini, S., Karnachuk, O. V., & Solioz, M. (2011). Genome sequence of Desulfosporosinus sp. OT, an acidophilic sulfate-reducing bacterium from copper mining waste in Norilsk, Northern Siberia. Journal of Bacteriology, 193, 6104–6105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aller, R. C., & Rude, P. D. (1988). Complete oxidation of solid phase sulfides by manganese and bacteria in anoxic marine sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimic Acta, 52, 751–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Appelo, C. A. J., & Postma, D. (2005). Geochemistry, groundwater and pollution. The Netherlands: A. A. Balkema Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berner, R. A. (1970). Sedimentary pyrite formation. American Journal of Science, 268, 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bronswijk, J. J. B., Nugroho, K., Aribawa, I. B., Groenenberg, J. E., & Ritsema, C. J. (1993). Modeling of oxygen transport and pyrite oxidation in acid sulfate soils. J. Environmental Quality, 22, 544–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cook, F. J., Dobos, S. K., Carlin, G. D., & Millar, G. E. (2004). Oxidation rate of pyrite in acid sulfate soils: in situ measurements and modelling. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 42, 499–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dent, D. (1986). Acid sulfate soils: a baseline for research and development. In Wageningen. The Netherlands: International Institute for Land Reclamation and Inprovement (ILRI).Google Scholar
  8. Froelich, P. N., Klinkhammer, G. P., Bender, M. L., Luedtke, N. A., Heath, G. R., Cullen, D., & Dauphin, P. (1979). Early oxidation of organic matter in pelagic sediments of the eastern equatorial Atlantic: suboxic diagenesis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 43, 1075–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Garcia-Gil, L. J., & Golterman, H. L. (1993). Kinetics of FeS-mediated denitrification in sediments from the Camargue (Rhode delta, Southern France). FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 13, 85–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Garrels, R. M. & Thompson, M. E. 1960. Oxidation of pyrite by iron sulfate solutions. American journal of science, Bradley Volume, Vol. 258-A, 57–67.Google Scholar
  11. Goker, M., Teshima, H., Lapidus, A., Lucas, S., et al. (2011). Complete genome sequence of the acetate-degrading sulfate reducer Desulfobacca acetoxidans type strain (ASRB2T). Standards in Genomic Sciences, 4, 393–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hengstmann, U., Chin, K., Janssen, P. H., & Liesack, W. (1999). Comparative phylogenetic assignment of environmental sequences of genes encoding 16S rRNA and numerically abundant culturable bacteria from an anoxic rice paddy soil. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 65, 5050–5058.Google Scholar
  13. Hill, G. T., Mitkowski, N. A., Aldrich-Wolfe, L., Emele, L. R., Jurkonie, D. D., Ficke, A., Maldonado-Ramirez, S., Lynch, S. T., & Nelson, E. B. (2000). Methods for assessing the composition and diversity of soil microbial communities. Applied Soil Ecology, 15, 25–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Holmer, M., & Storkholm, P. (2001). Sulfate reduction and sulfur cycling in lake sediments: a review. Freshwater Biology - Special Review, 46, 431–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jorgensen, B. B. (1977). The sulfur cycle of a coastal marine sediment (Limfjorden, Denmark). Limnology and Oceanography, 22, 814–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jorgensen, B. B., & Bak, F. (1991). Pathways and microbiology of thiosulfate transformations and sulfate reduction in a marine sediment (Kattegat, Denmark). Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 57, 847–856.Google Scholar
  17. Jorgensen, C. J., Jacobsen, O. S., Elberling, B., & Aamand, J. (2009). Microbial oxidation of pyrite coupled to nitrate reduction in anoxic groundwater sediment. Environmental Science & Technology, 43, 4851–4857.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Karikari-Yeboah, O., & Addai-Mensah, J. (2017). Assessing the impact of preload on pyrite-rich sediment and groundwater quality. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 189, 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Karikari-Yeboah, O., Skinner, W., & Addai-Mensah, J. (2018). The impact of preload on the mobilisation of multivalent trace metals in pyrite-rich sediment. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 190, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kosaka, T., Kato, S., Shimoyama, T., Ishii, S., Abe, T., & Watanabe, K. (2008). The genome of Pelotomaculum thermopropionicum reveals niche-associated evolution in anaerobic microbiota. Genome Research, 18, 442–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Luther, G. W. (1987). Pyrite oxidation and reduction: Molecular orbital theory considerations. Geochimica et Cosmochimic Acta, 51, 3193–3199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pester, M., Bittner, N., Deevong, P., Wagner, M., & Loy, A. (2010). A ‘rare biosphere’ microorganism contributes to sulfate reduction in a peatland. The ISME Journal, 4, 1591–1602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sanchez-Andrea, I., Knittel, K., Amann, R., Amils, R., & Sanz, J. L. (2012). Quantification of Tinto River sediment microbial communities: importance of sulfate-reducing bacteria and their role in attenuating acid mine drainage. Journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78, 4638–4645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schippers, A., & Jorgensen, B. B. (2001). Oxidation of pyrite and iron sulfide by manganese dioxide in marine sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochim. Acta, 65, 915–922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sieber, J. R., Sims, D. R., Han, C., Kim, E., Lykidis, A., Lapidus, A. L., Mcdonald, E., Rohlin, L., Culley, D. E., Gunsalus, R., & Mclnerney, M. J. (2010). The genome of Syntrophomonas wolfei: new insights into syntrophic metabolism and biohydrogen production. Environmental Microbiology, 12, 2289–2301.Google Scholar
  26. Singer, P. C., & Stumm, W. (1970). Acidic mine drainage: the rate-determining step. Science, New Series, 167, 1121–1123.Google Scholar
  27. Szogi, A. A., Hunt, P. G., Sadler, E. J., & Evans, D. E. (2004). Characterization of oxidation-reduction processes in constructed wetlands for swine wastewater treatment. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 20, 189–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Walpole, R. E., & Myers, R. H. (1989). Probability and statistics for engineers and scientists. Boston: Boston Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  29. Wheel, K. G. & Feasby, G. (1991). Innovative decommission technologies via Canada’s MEND program. the 12th Nat. Conf., Hazardous Mater. Control/Superfund ‘91, Hazardous Mater Control Res. Inst., 23–28.Google Scholar
  30. Wiersma, C. L., & Rimstidt, J. D. (1984). Rates of reaction of pyrite and marcasite with ferric iron at pH 2. Geochimica et Cosmochimic Acta, 48, 85–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Williamson, M. A., & Rimstidt, J. D. (1994). The kinetics and electrochemical rate-determining step of aqueous pyrite oxidation. Geochimica et Cosmochimic Acta, 58, 5443–5454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yanful, E. K. (1993). Oxygen diffusion through soil covers on sulphidic mine tailings. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 119, 1207–1228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Karikari-Yeboah
    • 1
    Email author
  • W. Skinner
    • 2
  • J. Addai-Mensah
    • 2
  1. 1.Maiden GeotechnicsGold CoastAustralia
  2. 2.Future Industries InstituteUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideSouth Australia

Personalised recommendations