, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 133–142 | Cite as

Sources of organic carbon and depositional environment in the Bengal delta plain sediments during the Holocene period

  • Hossain M. AnawarEmail author
  • Takahito Yoshioka
  • Eiichi Konohira
  • Junji Akai
  • M. C. Freitas
  • Shafi M Tareq
Research paper


This study investigated the sources of organic matter and sediment depositional environment within fluviatile sediments of the Ganges–Meghna (GM) delta plains. The very low contents of trace metals e.g., chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), scandium (Sc), and vanadium (V), organic carbon content, and cerium (Ce)-anomaly data of sediments indicate the redox conditions that fall within the boundary of oxic–anoxic condition, with dominantly oxic conditions in the sediment deposition environment. The higher atomic carbon nitrogen (C/N)a ratios and depleted stable carbon isotope ratio (δ13C) values for sediments from three study areas indicated the terrestrial sources of organic matter derived from C3 plant materials, whereas the contribution of organic materials from C4 vegetation and riverine productivity is low. Some silty sand samples exhibited lower (C/N)a ratios and enriched δ13C values in Sonargaon and Faridpur areas that are attributed to the adsorption of ammonium ions on clay minerals and the contribution of organic matter from C4 plants. Total sulfur over total organic carbon (TS/TOC) ratios in sediments of the Ganges delta reflect the nonmarine environments of sediment deposition. The lower ratios of syringyl to vanillyl phenols (S/V), cinnamyl to vanillyl phenols (C/V), and acid to aldehyde in vanillyl phenols (Ad/Al)v observed in Daudkandi indicate that the lignin in sediments derived from dominant woody gymnosperm sources and is very highly degraded. By contrast, the S/V ratio, C/V ratios, and [Ad/Al]v ratios in Faridpur suggest that the lignin in sediments derived from a mixture of woody and nonwoody angiosperm plant tissue contribution that underwent high degradation as well.


Sedimentary organic matter (C/N)a ratios δ13C values Terrestrial plants C3 and C4 plants Redox environment 



We acknowledge the assistance of Dr. Toshio Ishizuka, Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, in sample collection. The authors are grateful to Prof. Kikuo Kato and Kaori Komaki, Nagoya University, for cooperation in the elemental analysis of sediment samples. The anonymous reviewers are thanked for their comments to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Limnology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hossain M. Anawar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Takahito Yoshioka
    • 2
  • Eiichi Konohira
    • 3
  • Junji Akai
    • 4
  • M. C. Freitas
    • 1
  • Shafi M Tareq
    • 5
  1. 1.Instituto Tecnológico e Nuclear ReactorSacavémPortugal
  2. 2.Field Science Education and Research CenterKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Environmental StudiesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  4. 4.Department of GeologyNiigata UniversityNiigataJapan
  5. 5.Department of Environmental SciencesJahangirnagar UniversityDhakaBangladesh

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