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Schaller J.,TU Dresden | Schaller J.,Institute of General Ecology and Environmental Protection
Chemosphere | Year: 2013

Organic matter is known to accumulate high amounts of metals/metalloids, enhanced during the process of decomposition by heterotrophic biofilms (with high fixation capacity for metals/metalloids). The colonization by microbes and the decay rate of the organic matter depends on different litter properties. Main litter properties affecting the decomposition of organic matter such as the nutrient ratios and the content of cellulose, lignin and phenols are currently described to be changed by silicon availability. But less is known about the impact of silicon availability during plant growth on elemental fixation during decay. Hence, this research focuses on the impact of silicon availability during plant growth on fixation of 42 elements during litter decay, by controlling the litter properties. The results of this experiment are a significantly higher metal/metalloid accumulation during decomposition of plant litter grown under low silicon availability. This may be explained by the altered litter properties (mainly nutrient content) affecting the microbial decomposition of the litter, the microbial growth on the litter and possibly by the silicon double layer, which is evident in leaf litter with high silicon content and reduces the binding sites for metals/metalloids. Furthermore, this silicon double layer may also reduce the growing biofilm by reducing the availability of carbon compounds at the litter surface and has to be elucidated in further research. Hence, low silicon availability during plant growth enhances the metal/metalloid accumulation into plant litter during aquatic decomposition. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Schaller J.,TU Dresden | Schaller J.,Institute of General Ecology and Environmental Protection | Dharamshi J.,University of Western Ontario | Dudel E.G.,TU Dresden | Dudel E.G.,Institute of General Ecology and Environmental Protection
Chemosphere | Year: 2011

Invertebrate shredders such as Gammarus pulex are key species in contaminated stream ecosystems. Although a number of previous studies examining differences in metal accumulation between the gut system and remaining tissues of invertebrates exist, few focus on wide range of metals and metalloids that are relevant to contaminated systems. This study compared accumulation of the commonest (at study site) 15 metals and metalloids between the gut system including feces and remaining tissues of G. pulex. All metals and metalloids measured were significantly higher (p<0.001, except Cu p<0.005) in the gut system including feces than remaining tissues of G. pulex. Metals and metalloids in body tissues without the gut system including feces were significantly lower (Al, Cr, Fe and Mn (p<0.005), Sr and U (p<0.01), Co (p<0.05)) in content for a number of elements when compared to washed, whole G. pulex specimens. As well, all elements measured were significantly higher (all elements (p<0.005) except Cu and Co (p<0.05)) in gut system including feces than washed, whole G. pulex specimens. These results indicate that in G. pulex the uptake of all 15 metals and metalloids examined across the gut epithelium is minimalized or that sequestration of these elements in gut epithelial cells may occur. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Schaller J.,TU Dresden | Schaller J.,Institute of General Ecology and Environmental Protection | Mkandawire M.,TU Dresden | Mkandawire M.,Institute of General Ecology and Environmental Protection | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2010

Organic sediments are a main sink for metal pollutants in aquatic systems. However, factors that make sediments a sink of metals and metalloids are still not clear. Consequently, we investigate the role of invertebrate shredders (Gammarus pulex L.) on quality of metal and arsenic fixation into organic partitions of sediment in the course of litter decay with laboratory microcosm experiments. During the decomposition of leaf litter, G. pulex significantly facilitated the development of small particles of organic matter. The capacity of metal fixation was significantly higher in smaller particles than leaf litter and litter residuals. Thus, G. pulex enhanced metal fixation into the organic partition of sediments by virtue of increasing the amount smaller particles in the aquatic system. Furthermore, invertebrates have a significant effect on formation of dissolved organic matter and remobilization of cobalt, molybdenum and cesium, but no significant effect on remobilization of all other measured elements. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Schaller J.,TU Dresden | Schaller J.,Institute of General Ecology and Environmental Protection | Brackhage C.,TU Dresden | Brackhage C.,Institute of General Ecology and Environmental Protection | And 2 more authors.
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution | Year: 2011

Many studies were conducted measuring the lethal concentration of pollutants by using a contaminated solution or polluted sediments. Considering the impact of polluted food on mortality and uptake quantity of invertebrate shredders in batch cultures, little is known about, e.g. uranium and cadmium. Consequently, we investigated in situ the impact of metal and metalloid polluted food and water on Gammarus pulex L. under nature-like conditions. In contrast to other publications, a very low mortality rate of the invertebrates was found. Furthermore, fixation of elements by G. pulex was shown to be low compared to initial concentrations. Fixation of non essential metals and metalloids is shown to take place mainly on the surface of the invertebrates. This is deduced from easy desorption of a relevant amount of fixed metals and metalloids. It is concluded that the accumulation of metals and metalloids in situ under nature-like conditions within the food web via invertebrate shredders is very low. The invertebrates seem to minimize the uptake of non essential elements in the presence of nutrient-rich food even in habitats with higher contamination levels. Hence, invertebrates seem to be adapted to higher contamination levels in their favourable habitats. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010. Source


Schaller J.,TU Dresden | Schaller J.,Institute of General Ecology and Environmental Protection | Brackhage C.,TU Dresden | Brackhage C.,Institute of General Ecology and Environmental Protection | And 4 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2011

The focus of this article is to combine two main areas of research activities in freshwater ecosystems: the effect of inorganic pollutants on freshwater ecosystems and litter decomposition as a fundamental ecological process in streams.The decomposition of plant litter in aquatic systems as a main energy source in running water ecosystems proceeds in three distinct temporal stages of leaching, conditioning and fragmentation. During these stages metals and metalloids may be fixed by litter, its decay products and the associated organisms. The global-scale problem of contaminated freshwater ecosystems by metals and metalloids has led to many investigations on the acute and chronic toxicity of these elements to plants and animals as well as the impact on animal activity under laboratory conditions. Where sorption properties and accumulation/remobilization potential of metals in sediments and attached microorganisms are quite well understood, the combination of both research areas concerning the impact of higher trophic levels on the modification of sediment sorption conditions and the influence of metal/metalloid pollution on decomposition of plant litter mediated by decomposer community, as well as the effect of high metal load during litter decay on organism health under field conditions, has still to be elucidated. So far it was found that microbes and invertebrate shredder (species of the genera Gammarus and Asellus) have a significant influence on metal fixation on litter. Not many studies focus on the impact of other functional groups affecting litter decay (e.g. grazer and collectors) or other main processes in freshwater ecosystems like bioturbation (e.g. Tubifex, Chironomus) on metal fixation/release. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

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