Bioaccumulation of antimony and arsenic in a highly contaminated stream adjacent to the Hillgrove Mine, NSW, Australia

Kristy Telford, William Maher, Frank Krikowa, Simon Foster, Michael J. Ellwood, Paul M. Ashley, Peter V. Lockwood, Susan C. Wilson

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    Bioaccumulation and uptake of antimony (Sb) were investigated in a highly contaminated stream, Bakers Creek, running adjacent to mining and processing of Sb-As ores at Hillgrove Mine, NSW, Australia. Comparisons with arsenic (As) were included owing to its co-occurrence at high concentrations. Mean metalloid creek rhizome sediment concentrations were 777 115g g-1 Sb and 60 6g g-1 As, with water concentrations at 381 23g L-1 Sb and 46 2g L-1 As. Antimony and As were significantly elevated in aquatic autotrophs (96-212g g-1 Sb and 32-245g g-1 As) but Sb had a lower uptake efficiency. Both metalloids were elevated in all macroinvertebrates sampled (94-316g g-1 Sb and 1.8-62g g-1 As) except Sb in gastropods. Metalloids were detected in upper trophic levels although biomagnification was not evident. Metalloid transfer to riparian vegetation leaves from roots and rhizome soil was low but rhizome soil to leaf As concentration ratios were up to 2-3 times greater than Sb concentration ratios. Direct exposure to the rhizosphere sediments and soils, water ingestion and consumption of aquatic autotrophs appear to be the major routes of Sb and As uptake for the fauna of Bakers Creek.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)133-143
    Number of pages11
    JournalEnvironmental Chemistry
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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