In Situ Rates of Sulfate Reduction in Response to Geochemical Perturbations

Authors


Department of Geological Sciences, California State University, Fullerton, 800 Nutwood Ave, Fullerton, CA 92834; (657) 278-5660; fax: (657) 278-7266; tkneeshaw@fullerton.edu

Abstract

Rates of in situ microbial sulfate reduction in response to geochemical perturbations were determined using Native Organism Geochemical Experimentation Enclosures (NOGEEs), a new in situ technique developed to facilitate evaluation of controls on microbial reaction rates. NOGEEs function by first trapping a native microbial community in situ and then subjecting it to geochemical perturbations through the introduction of various test solutions. On three occasions, NOGEEs were used at the Norman Landfill research site in Norman, Oklahoma, to evaluate sulfate-reduction rates in wetland sediments impacted by landfill leachate. The initial experiment, in May 2007, consisted of five introductions of a sulfate test solution over 11 d. Each test stimulated sulfate reduction with rates increasing until an apparent maximum was achieved. Two subsequent experiments, conducted in October 2007 and February 2008, evaluated the effects of concentration on sulfate-reduction rates. Results from these experiments showed that faster sulfate-reduction rates were associated with increased sulfate concentrations. Understanding variability in sulfate-reduction rates in response to perturbations may be an important factor in predicting rates of natural attenuation and bioremediation of contaminants in systems not at biogeochemical equilibrium.

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