, Volume 108, Issue 1–3, pp 447–466 | Cite as

Controls on dissolved organic carbon composition and export from rice-dominated systems

  • Monika Krupa
  • Robert G. M. Spencer
  • Kenneth W. Tate
  • Johan Six
  • Chris van Kessel
  • Bruce A. Linquist


Rice field outflow can contain high concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), which plays a crucial role in drinking water quality and aquatic ecosystem processes. This study examined the relationship between potential determining factors (i.e. rice area, outflow, drainwater reuse, soil properties, and time, measured as the day in the growing season) and the concentration and composition of DOC exported from 11 rice-dominated subwatersheds. Samples were collected from subwatershed inflow and outflow every 1–2 weeks from May through September 2008 and analyzed for DOC concentration, trihalomethane formation potential (THMFP), and also specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA254) and the spectral slope parameter (S), which are indicators of DOC composition. Concentrations of DOC across all subwatersheds and sampling dates ranged from 1.56 to 14.43 mg L−1 (mean = 4.32 mg L−1). Linear mixed effects (LME) analysis indicated that DOC concentration decreased over time, and that THMFP, and DOC and THM flux, decreased over time, but increased with outflow. LME analysis of the SUVA254 and S parameters indicated that the fraction of aromatic DOC moieties increased with time, outflow, and reuse. Additionally, apparent peaks in DOC concentrations, THMFP, and SUVA254 coincided with the onsets of flooding and draining. Lastly, subwatersheds with outflow less than approximately 4,700 m3 ha−1 behaved as sinks of DOC. Our findings suggest that water management factors such as outflow, reuse, and discrete irrigation events, all of which vary over the course of the growing season, were the dominant determinants of DOC concentration and composition.


Agriculture Rice Dissolved organic carbon Dissolved organic matter Trihalomethanes 



We gratefully acknowledge the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District for providing land use, irrigation, and water management data. We thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for providing water management information on the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. We also thank Dylan Beaudette for his help in compiling and analyzing the SSURGO data. We are grateful to Katie Chun and Cesar Abrenilla for their assistance with sample processing, analysis, and database management. Lastly, we thank the University of California Davis, Department of Plant Sciences for the support provided by the Graduate Student Researcher award.

Supplementary material

10533_2011_9610_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (65 kb)
Online Resource 1 Graphs of observed inflow and outflow dissolved organic carbon (DOC) flux per irrigated area versus inflow and outflow DOC flux per irrigated area predicted by the LoadRunner Maximum Likelihood Estimation model for all 11 subwatersheds across the 15 sample events (PDF 65 kb)
10533_2011_9610_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (142 kb)
Online Resource 2 Flow, internal reuse, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) flux and concentration, trihalomethane formation potential (THMFP), specific ultraviolet absorbance at 254 nm (SUVA254), and spectral slope (S 275–295 and S 290–350) data obtained over the course of the growing season for all 11 subwatersheds (PDF 143 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monika Krupa
    • 1
  • Robert G. M. Spencer
    • 2
  • Kenneth W. Tate
    • 1
  • Johan Six
    • 1
  • Chris van Kessel
    • 1
  • Bruce A. Linquist
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Sciences, Mail Stop 1University of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Woods Hole Research CenterFalmouthUSA

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