, Volume 364, Issue 1, pp 99-104

Presence of and phosphate release from polyphosphates or phytate phosphate in lake sediments

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NaOH is often used as an extractant for thefractionation of sediment-bound phosphates. Besidesorthophosphate, a certain quantity of phosphate whichis called ‘non-reactive NaOH-extractable phosphate’is also extracted. In recent literature it has beensuggested that this fraction consists of bacterialpolyphosphates and might be responsible for the phosphate release from aquatic sediments under anoxicconditions.

In a previous publication we have already shown thatNaOH is not an accurate extractant as both theconcentration of NaOH and the duration of theextraction have an influence on the quantity ofphosphate extracted, due to the hydrolysis of organicphosphates.

In this article we show that cold NaOH does not onlyextract iron-bound phosphate but phytate phosphate aswell. Non-reactive phosphate in this extract was notrelated to the presence of polyphosphate, but mainlyto phytate and humic phosphates. As it has been shownthat phytate may disappear from sediments when theybecome anoxic, we suggest that phytate mineralizationmay be an important mechanism for anoxic phosphaterelease from sediments.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.