Release of cadmium in the Danube estuary: Contribution of physical and chemical processes as determined by an experimental approach

Jean Marie Garnier, Cécile Guieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The behavior of dissolved cadmium (Cd) in the Danube estuary was investigated through field sampling and mixing experiments using Danube River water and Black Sea water. The experiments were performed by mixing these two end-member waters in various proportions, with the addition of stable or radioactive Cd to the freshwater Danube end-member prior to the mixing. The release of Cd that resulted in maximum concentrations under field conditions was well simulated by mixing experiments. The experimental results were modeled assuming that the release of Cd was the sum of the contribution of physical effects resulting from dilution effects and the contribution of chemical effects resulting from dissolved Cd-complex formation (and isotopic exchange when concerned). In the absence of dissolved Cd-complexing ligands, the release of Cd due to the dilution of the particulate phase during mixing could explain part of the maximum concentrations observed in field conditions. Kinetic effects were established by comparing the theoretical and measured contribution of chemical effects resulting from dissolved Cd-complex formation. The non-equilibrium state observed during the mixing experiment suggested the presence of particulate labile Cd that was not easily mobilized. All these features supported the hypothesis that Cd released in estuaries is controlled both by the dilution of the particulate phase and by kinetic competitive complexation between particulate ligands (covering a large spectrum of nature and strength) and dissolved ligands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-25
Number of pages21
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003



  • Cadmium
  • Danube
  • Estuaries
  • Isotopic-exchange
  • Mixing-processes
  • Release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

Cite this