Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 67–81 | Cite as

Assessment of nutrients and heavy metals enrichment in surface sediments from Taihu Lake, a eutrophic shallow lake in China

  • He-zhong Yuan
  • Ji Shen
  • En-feng Liu
  • Jian-jun Wang
  • Xiang-hua Meng
Original paper


Concentrations of the nutrients (TN and TP), phosphorus fractions and heavy metals (Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, Ti, V, Zn and Hg) in 40 surface sediment samples collected from Taihu Lake, a eutrophic shallow lake in China, were determined. The results showed that the northwest region of the lake possessed higher concentrations of TN and TP, as well as the similar spatial distribution trend in the water column. This should be related to excessive anthropogenic input from industrial effluents and domestic sewage in surrounding areas. Similarly, the concentrations of P fractions exhibited significant regularity. In addition, except for Sr showing low concentration, the rest of the heavy metals in the surface sediments had two- to four-folds of magnitude of the concentrations compared with the reference values in earth's crust. In the past decade, concentrations of heavy metals had undergone different levels of variations. Principal component analysis (PCA) and enrichment factors (EFs) of the compositional data aiming at heavy metals showed that Taihu Lake was slightly exposing to heavy metal contamination except Sr. High concentrations of heavy metals were ascribed to the discharge of untreated and partially treated industrial waste water via rivers. Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, V and Zn positively correlated with each other (R = 0.78–0.92), that indicated they had analogous sources and/or kindred geochemistry characteristics. Differing from nutrients, randomness in the space indicated that heavy metals had a complex distribution.


Nutrients Heavy metals Multivariate analysis Sediments Taihu Lake 



This research was supported by the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX1-YW-14-5), Major State Basic Research Development Program of China (973 program)(2008CB418103) and Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK2008055). Thanks are also due to Yong Zhang of Anhui Normal University for his help in the fieldwork. Yong-ping Zhang was extremely helpful in providing samples of E. Taihu Lake. Yu-xin Zhu is gratefully acknowledged for assistance with ICP-AES measurements.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of City DevelopmentUniversity of JinanJinanPeople’s Republic of China

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