Lake Batata is one of many clear water lakes located on the floodplain of the Trombetas River in the northern Brazilian Amazon. Lake Batata is distinctly different from other lakes of this region because, for a period of 10 years, its waters received tremendous amounts of aluminum ore tailings from a bauxite mining operation. Approximately 30% of the sediments of the upper basin of the 2100 hectare lake were covered by tailings before dumping was curtailed. The goal of this research was to identify factors controlling denitrification in the natural and impacted sediments of Lake Batata. Rates of denitrification in sediments were estimated in the laboratory by the acetylene blockage method. Denitrification was measured under four conditions: without amendment; amended with glucose; amended with nitrate; and amended with glucose and nitrate. Denitrification was observed only in assays amended with nitrate suggesting that availability of nitrate is a principle factor for controlling denitrification in the sediments of Lake Batata. Effects of nitrate amendments are most pronounced when the water level is low, i.e. during the hydroperiods of draw-down and low-water.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Dr Fabio Roland and Dr Reinaldo Bozelli for their assistance in collecting field samples and Mauricio Porto for lab assistance. We thank Miner-ação Rio do Norte Company, CAPES and CNPq for financial support.