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Estuarine plants and their control in metals biogeochemistry in soils impacted by the `Mariana disaster´

Grant number: 19/14800-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Soil Science
Principal researcher:Tiago Osório Ferreira
Grantee:Amanda Duim Ferreira
Home Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


In November, 2015, 60 million cubic meters of tailings were dumped in River Doce due to the rupture of the Samarco mining dam of Fundão, causing the greatest environmental tragedy in Brazil. The tailings, containing mainly Fe oxides, were carried by the river for more than 600 km, until reaching the estuary of River Doce, in the municipality of Linhares (ES). Estuarine regions are highly dynamic, motivating the development of studies to evaluate the risks of release of metals associated with the tailings. The risk of contamination is caused by oxirreduction processes in estuarine environments, which are controlled by parameters such as redox potential, pH and organic carbon. These parameters vary throughout the year, due to the seasonal fluctuations of precipitation and tides, which control the inflows and outflows of elements in the estuaries. The vegetation has a strong influence on soil properties, affecting the release of metals, especially in hydromorphic soils, where the rhizosphere of these species can be oxidized. The accumulation of metals in plant species is one of the forms of metals entrance into the food chain, however, vegetation can also act as a mitigator of the damage caused by soil pollution, through phytoremediation. One of the species found in the estuary, Thypa domingensis, has great potential for accumulation of Fe and heavy metals. Thus, the present study aims to determine the controls exercised plants in the bioavailability of iron and metals, as well as to evaluate damages caused by the disaster to the vegetation of the estuary, focusing on the risks and potentialities of the seasonal accumulation of metals in the estuarine vegetation. (AU)

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