Arsenic in the Meager Creek hot springs environment, British Columbia, Canada

Sci Total Environ. 1999 Sep 15;236(1-3):101-17. doi: 10.1016/s0048-9697(99)00273-9.


Levels of arsenic in water from Meager Creek hot springs, British Columbia, Canada, were found to be naturally elevated. Biota including microbial mats, green algae, sedge, cedar, fleabane, monkey flower, moss, mushrooms and lichens, that were expected to be impacted by the water, were analyzed for total levels of arsenic and for arsenic species. The major arsenic species extracted from all samples were arsenate and arsenite, which are toxic forms of arsenic. Additionally, small amounts of arsenosugars X and XI were detected in microbial mats and green algae, implying that cyanobacteria/bacteria, and possibly green algae are capable of synthesizing arsenosugars from arsenate. Low to trace amounts of arsenosugars X and XI were detected in lichens and the fungus Tarzetta cupularis. A large fraction (on average, greater than 50%) of arsenic was not extracted by using methanol/water (1:1) and the chemical and toxicological significance of this arsenic remains unknown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • British Columbia
  • Bryopsida / chemistry
  • Ecosystem
  • Eukaryota / chemistry
  • Fresh Water / analysis
  • Fungi / chemistry
  • Hot Temperature
  • Lichens / chemistry
  • Plants / chemistry
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Arsenic