, Volume 693, Issue 1, pp 71–80 | Cite as

Photochemical mineralization of dissolved organic nitrogen to ammonia in prairie lakes

  • Sereda Jeff
  • Kristine Hunter
  • David Vandergucht
  • Jeff Hudson
Primary Research Paper


We examined the rate of photoammonification in 16 lakes from Saskatchewan, Canada. Lakes were selected to encompass a broad range in dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) (269–1,435 μg l−1). Lake filtrate (<0.2 μm) was exposed to artificial solar radiation for 4 h. Rates of photoammonification were significant in 7 of the 16 study lakes. Ammonia (NH3) concentrations increased 0.84–2.85 μg l−1 over control values. This is a 4–92% increase in NH3 concentration and a conversion of 0.18–0.3% of the DON pool to NH3. We developed an empirical model to predict photoammonification rates across aquatic ecosystems. Photoammonification rates and ancillary parameters (i.e., pH, DOC and DON concentrations, DOC:DON ratios, and a350:DOC) were obtained from published studies to expand our dataset for model development. Model selection was conducted with Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC). DON concentration and pH were selected as model predictors by AIC. Our model explains 49% of the variance in photoammonification rate across a diverse set of aquatic systems. This model may be useful in estimating photoammonification rates in other aquatic systems.


Lakes Photoammonification Ultraviolet radiation Ammonia Dissolved organic nitrogen 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sereda Jeff
    • 1
  • Kristine Hunter
    • 1
  • David Vandergucht
    • 1
  • Jeff Hudson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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