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The origin and biogeochemistry of organic matter in surface sediments of Lake Shihwa and Lake Hwaong

Abstract

To understand the origin and biogeochemistry of the organic matter in surface sediments of Lake Shihwa and Lake Hwaong, organic nitrogen, inorganic nitrogen, labile organic carbon, and residual organic carbon contents as well as stable isotope ratios for carbon and nitrogen were determined by KOBr-KOH treatment. Ratios of organic carbon to organic nitrogen (Corg/Norg) (mean = 24) were much higher than ratios of organic carbon to total nitrogen (Corg/Ntot) (mean=12), indicating the presence of significant amounts of inorganic nitrogen in the surface sediments of both lakes. Stable isotope ratios for organic nitrogen were, on average, 5.2‰ heavier than ratios of inorganic nitrogen in Lake Shihwa, but those same ratios were comparable in Lake Hwaong. This might be due to differences in the origin or the degree of degradation of sedimentary organic matter between the two lakes. In addition, stable isotope ratios for labile organic carbon were, on average, 1.4‰ heavier than those for residual organic carbon, reflecting the preferential oxidation of13C-enriched organic matter. The present study demonstrates that KOBr-KOH treatment of sedimentary organic matter can provide valuable information for understanding the origin and degradation state of organic matter in marine and brackish sediments. This also suggests that the ratio of Corg/Norg and stable isotope ratios for organic nitrogen can be used as indexes of the degree of degradation of organic matter.

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Correspondence to Kyung -Hoon Shin.

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Won, E.J., Cho, H.G. & Shin, K.H. The origin and biogeochemistry of organic matter in surface sediments of Lake Shihwa and Lake Hwaong. Ocean Sci. J. 42, 223–230 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03020913

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03020913

Key words

  • nitrogen and carbon composition
  • stable isotope ratio
  • KOBr-KOH treatment
  • Lake Shihwa
  • Lake Hwaong