, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp 15–28 | Cite as

Degradation rates of organic phosphorus in lake sediment

  • Kasper ReitzelEmail author
  • Joakim Ahlgren
  • Heidi DeBrabandere
  • Monica Waldebäck
  • Adolf Gogoll
  • Lars Tranvik
  • Emil Rydin
Original paper


Phosphorus (P) binding groups were identified in phytoplankton, settling particles, and sediment profiles by 31P NMR spectroscopy from the Swedish mesotrophic Lake Erken. The 31P NMR analysis revealed that polyphosphates and pyrophosphates were abundant in the water column, but rapidly mineralized in the sediment. Orthophosphate monoesters and teichoic acids degraded more slowly than DNA-P, polyphosphates, and P lipids. Humic acids and organic acids from phytoplankton were precipitated from the NaOH extract by acidification and identified by 31P NMR spectroscopy. The precipitated P was significantly more recalcitrant than the P compound groups remaining in solution, but does not constitute a major sink of P as it did not reach a stable concentration with depth, which indicates that it may eventually be degraded. Since P also precipitated from phytoplankton, the origin of humic-P can not be related solely to allochthonous P.


Organic P 31P NMR Lake sediment Degradation rates 



Kasper Reitzel was supported by the Carlsberg foundation by a postdoctoral grant and by the Danish Natural Science Research Council by grant # 21020463. The study was further supported by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences, and Spatial Planning. Thanks to Ulrik Nørum for providing valuable help for statistical analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kasper Reitzel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joakim Ahlgren
    • 2
  • Heidi DeBrabandere
    • 2
  • Monica Waldebäck
    • 2
  • Adolf Gogoll
    • 3
  • Lars Tranvik
    • 4
  • Emil Rydin
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Analytical ChemistryUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Department of Organic ChemistryUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Department of LimnologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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