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Processing of Particulate Organic Carbon Associated with Secondary-Treated Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent in Intertidal Sediments: A 13C Pulse-chase Experiment

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Oakes, JM and Ross, DJ and Eyre, BD (2013) Processing of Particulate Organic Carbon Associated with Secondary-Treated Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent in Intertidal Sediments: A 13C Pulse-chase Experiment. Environmental Science and Technology, 47 (23). pp. 13258-13265. ISSN 1520-5851

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Abstract

To determine the benthic transformation pathways and
fate of carbon associated with secondary-treated pulp and paper mill
(PPM) effluent, 13C-labeled activated sludge biomass (ASB) and
phytoplankton (PHY) were added, separately, to estuarine intertidal
sediments. Over 28 days, 13C was traced into sediment organic carbon,
fauna, seagrass, bacteria, and microphytobenthos and into fluxes of
dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC)
from inundated sediments, and carbon dioxide (CO2(g)) from exposed
sediments. There was greater removal of PHY carbon from sediments
(∼85% over 28 days) compared to ASB (∼75%). Although there was
similar 13C loss from PHY and ASB plots via DIC (58% and 56%,
respectively) and CO2(g) fluxes (<1%), DOC fluxes were more
important for PHY (41%) than ASB (12%). Faster downward transport
and loss suggest that fauna prefer PHY, due to its lability and/or toxins associated with ASB; this may account for different
carbon pathways. Secondary-treated PPM effluent has lower oxygen demand than primary-treated effluent, but ASB
accumulation may contribute to sediment anoxia, and respiration of ASB and PHY-derived DOC may make the water column
more heterotrophic. This highlights the need to optimize secondary-treatment processes to control the quality and quantity of
organic carbon associated with PPM effluent.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Science and Technology
Page Range: pp. 13258-13265
ISSN: 1520-5851
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1021/es402814u
Additional Information:

Copyright 2013 American Chemical Society

Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2014 04:42
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:59
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