Interactions microorganismes - mercure - composante du sol : des outils pour l'évaluation de la qualité de la restauration écologique des sites miniers aurifères en Guyane française

Abstract : For more than 150 years, gold mining in French Guiana has disrupted the landscape by causing massive deforestation of mining concessions. The consequences are multiple, both for the environment and human health. Indeed, for decades the use of mercury in the extraction process has led to pollution of aquatic systems, contaminating the food chain. In order to ensure that gold mining is carried out in a sustainable development perspective, the Mining Code has imposed an obligation since 1998 to rehabilitate the sites operated. Several revegetation methods using different plant species have been adopted to accelerate ecological succession. However, quality control of ecological restoration is difficult to implement and it is necessary to have reliable and inexpensive bio-geo-indication tools to estimate the recovery of the functionalities of anthropized ecosystems and assess the risk of mobility of toxic metallic elements.In this context, the objectives of this thesis work were to evaluate the quality of ecological restoration of mining sites in French Guiana through a characterization of microbial activities, the functioning of biogeochemical cycles of major elements (C,N,P) and the dynamics of mercury. The originality of this work lies in the evaluation over time and space of the interactions between vegetation cover - physico-chemical properties of the soil - microbial activities - mercury speciation after revegetation and making it a diagnostic tool for the success of this restoration. To this end, several sampling campaigns were carried out in French Guiana on a panel of rehabilitated mining sites, with different types of vegetation cover. Soil samples were taken from replanted sites with fabaceous species (A. mangium and C. racemosa), and from non-restored sites. We then evaluated the main functionalities of the microbial communities of these sites through the use of several soil quality bio-markers. In order to estimate the fate of mercury, measurements of total mercury as well as operational and environmental specimens were carried out. This thesis work revealed a positive effect of revegetation on the density and activities of soil microbial communities. Sites restored with fabaceous species have thus shown microbial biomass, macro-element mineralization rates (C,N,P), and catabolic diversity significantly higher than sites that have not been restored. The associations of fabaceous plants show more conclusive results than the use of monoculture in terms of microbial functionalities. While the activities of aerobic microorganisms have been impacted by the return of vegetation, our results confirm that restoration influences the activities of anaerobic microbial communities. Indeed, work on iron-reducing (IRB) and sulfate-reducing (SRB) bacterial communities shows varying activities between revegetation modalities. These differences are related to the physical and chemical properties of the soil and the nature and density of the vegetation cover. BFR communities are more active on rehabilitated sites while SRB communities are more active on poorly restored sites. These differences in activities have consequences on mercury mobility and methylation. Our work also shows that while mercury in re-vegetated sites is associated with stable phases of the soil, including iron oxides, in non-restored sites it is in soluble forms that can potentially be mobilized in the water network, bioavailable and assimilated by organisms in the food chain.In conclusion, the interdisciplinary approach proposed in this work made it possible to identify certain fundamental microbial ecological processes that impact the recovery of the functionalities of degraded mining ecosystems. This work provides an original, applied and promising tool for assessing the quality of ecological restoration that may be of interest to decision-makers responsible for the rehabilitation of mining sites in French Guiana
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Ewan Couic. Interactions microorganismes - mercure - composante du sol : des outils pour l'évaluation de la qualité de la restauration écologique des sites miniers aurifères en Guyane française. Biodiversité et Ecologie. Université Paris-Est, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018PESC1150⟩. ⟨tel-02166930⟩

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