Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 23, pp 23195–23204 | Cite as

The effect of anthropogenic activities on the phosphorus-buffering intensity of the two contrasting rivers in northern China

  • Xin Jin
  • Wenqiang ZhangEmail author
  • Yaoyao Zhu
  • Baoqing ShanEmail author
Research Article


The phosphorus (P)-buffering ability of suspended particulate matter (SPM) from the Ziya River Mainstream (ZRM) and the Luanhe River (LR) of northern China was investigated in this study. Forty samples of SPM from the ZRM and LR were collected in October and November of 2016. The ZRM has slow flow and poor water quality, while the LR has fast flow and reasonably good water quality. Under a scanning electron microscope, the SPM from the ZRM had a more complex microstructure than that from the LR, perhaps because of the slower flow and heavier pollution in the ZRM. P fractions in both SPM and water samples were determined using standard measurement and testing program methods. The equilibrium P concentration was used to determine the influence of SPM on soluble reactive P (SRP) concentrations. These SRP fractions were used to evaluate the P-buffering intensity of the two rivers. Differences in SPM microstructure resulted in the SPM from ZRM having a stronger P-buffering ability than the LR, making SPM an effective vector for SRP. Anthropogenic activities likely contributed to the differences in both microstructures of the SPM and P-buffering intensity of the rivers. A conceptual model was developed to show how anthropogenic activities influence the P-buffering intensity of the two rivers. As far as we know, this is the first time that the P-buffering intensity has been compared between two rivers that have been severely impacted by anthropogenic activities. Our findings provide an important reference for similar rivers worldwide.


Suspended particulate matter Heavy pollution P-buffering intensity Anthropogenic activities 



We thank Dr. Trudi Semeniuk from Liwen Bianji, Edanz Editing China (, for editing the English text of a draft of this manuscript.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 21507146), the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Wenqiang Zhang; 2018058) and the National Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2015ZX07203-011-04 and 2017ZX07107- 004-001).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2337_MOESM1_ESM.doc (71 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 70 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory on Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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