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Trace element concentrations of oligochaetes and relations to sediment characteristics in the reservoir at Altenwörth/Austria

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The sediments of the River Danube in the Reservoir at Altenwörth/Lower Austria, are moderately polluted with Zn, Pb, and Cd, whereas concentrations of As, Co, Cr, Cu and Ni are typical of background values. Deposit-feeding oligochaetes living in these sediments were analyzed for their trace element concentrations (As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn) to study pathways of recycling of sediment bound amounts to the food web. Compared with background values of benthic deposit feeders from the literature, Cu and As are low, whereas some samples were enhanced in Pb, Cd and Zn. Within the rather narrow concentration ranges, relations of tissue concentrations with chemical and mineralogical compositions of the sediment were hardly found. Increase of clay mineral contents went in parallel with increasing Cd, Zn, and Cu in the tissues, and As in the tissues with total As content. Pb in the tissues was closely related to Pb-concentrations in the pore water. By means of sequential leaching, some further relations between trace element contents in the tissues and solid phases were found. The organic detrital phase positively correlates with As-uptake, whereas hydroxylamine-reducible Mn/Fe-oxyhydroxides influence the Pb-level, and dithionite-reducible Fe/Mn influence the Cu-level. Exchangeable and weak-acid-mobile fractions of the respective metals, however, did not correlate with tissue-levels, nor did the oxalate-extractable Fe-hydroxide coatings, which carry a major part of the heavy metals at fine grain sizes in the Danube sediments investigated. Zn in the tissues was largely independent from all investigated parameters.

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Sager, M., Pucsko, R. Trace element concentrations of oligochaetes and relations to sediment characteristics in the reservoir at Altenwörth/Austria. Hydrobiologia 226, 39–49 (1991).

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