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IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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Aqueous, solid and gaseous partitioning of selenium in an oxic sandy soil under different microbiological states


Journal title : Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
Volume : 99
Issue : 6
Pagination : 981-992
Publication date : 01/06/2008

Summary

The aim of this study was to investigate the role of microorganisms on the behaviour of selenium in natural soil maintained under strictly aerobic conditions. Six-day batch experiments were performed with soils constrained to different microbiological states, either by sterilisation or by adding organic substrates. Selenium was added to the soil as selenite. The distribution of selenium in the gaseous, liquid and solid phases of the batch was measured. Selenium partitioning between the various solid phases was investigated by chemical sequential extractions. Active microorganisms played major effects on the distribution of selenium within the soil. On the one hand, microorganisms could promote selenium volatilisation (in relatively small amounts), leading to the spreading of selenium compounds outside the soil. On the other hand, microbial activities increased both amount of selenium retained by the soil and the strength of its retention (less exchangeable selenium), making selenium less susceptible to remobilisation.

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